When you research a topic you may use information from articles, books, or the Web to support your ideas. However, you must credit the original authors of these sources by citing them.
To cite means that you state where you found the information so that others can find the exact item again. In this way we build upon the ideas and knowledge of other people.
There are a few main styles for citing sources, so check with your instructor about which style to use for your research.
The MLA (Modern Language Association) Handbook is used for research on general topics and literary criticism. Most instructors in English and Developmental Studies classes will require you to use MLA style.
The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) is used for scientific and technical research. Instructors in behavioral science and hard science courses may require you to use APA style for your references or bibliography page.
A few instructors prefer the Chicago Manual of Style. This style is used primarily in history and other social science research.