Citing and Referencing Sources


All good research borrows from other sources and your research paper will be no exception. But using another writer's ideas without providing a proper reference is both academically dishonest and against the policies of the University. Here we'll learn the basics of integrating sources into your work in a way that honours those sources appropriately.

1) How To Cite a Source

2) Citation Styles

3) Citing With Refworks

How to Cite a Source

The purpose of any citation style is to link the cited parts of your text to their sources. If something is an original idea, there is no need to cite it as it is already attributed to you the author. However, if you got the idea from one of your sources, you will need to cite it so the reader knows where it came from. You will do this by identifying it with a brief in-text citation, followed by a more complete reference in the bibliography at the end.

In-text Citations

Most styles place in-text citations between parentheses (APA, MLA) but some may use superscript numbers with a footnote (Chicago). They will normally consist of the author’s last name and the year of publication. The purpose is to point the reader to a more complete reference in the bibliography.

Early onset results in a more persistent and severe course (Kessler, 2003).

If the author’s name already appears as part of the text, only include the year.

Kessler (2003) found that among epidemiological samples…


At the end of your paper, you will include full bibliographic references for the sources you cited in the text. This will include the author’s name, year of publication, title, source (i.e. journal title or website, etc., if applicable), volume, issue, page numbers, publisher, and location of publication. Different styles will have you format the information differently, but the purpose is always to allow your reader to locate the source you used.

Kessler, R. C. (2003). Epidemiology of women and depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, 74(1), 5–13.

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Citation Styles

Which Style?

There are hundreds of different styles, but most undergraduates will only ever use a maximum of three or four of them. The style you’re expected to use will often be listed in the assignment, but you can always check with your professor to make sure. Each of these guides are held in the library, at the reference desk.

If you're unable to access physical copies of the style guides, you can consult one of the following summaries, or in some cases online copies of the full-texts.

Excelsior College has summaries of MLA and APA style that may be helpful.

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Citing With Refworks

Refworks is a citation manager that you can use it to create citations and bibliographies. Although these are computer generated and will require you to proof-read and edit, this is an easy method for quickly creating your references.

The first time you use Refworks you'll need to create an account. This is as easy an entering your University webmail address and following the prompts in the confirmation email. Once you've created your account, you're ready to start using Refworks.

Exporting to Refworks

Most library search tools and databases will include an option to cite or export references. Each interface is different, so be on the look-out for Export, Share, or Refworks links.

WorldCat Cite Button

Create Bibliography

Once you've created your Refworks account and imported your sources, you can create a bibliography by selecting the desired sources and clicking the quotation mark icon. The system will default to the last style, but this can be changed using the drop down menu.

Refworks Bibliography

Quick Cite

The Quick Cite option under the quotation mark icon allows you to create in-text citations on the fly. Simply copy the citation for the desired source and paste it into your document in the appropriate place.

Refworks Quick Cite

Integrating with MS Word

You can download the Refworks Citation Manager for Word inside your Word document. Click the Insert tab and select the Add-ins drop-down. Open the Store, search for Refworks Citation Manager, and Add.

The citation manager will now be available under My Add-ins in the Add-ins drop-down. You’ll need to sign-in with your account. Once signed in, you can easily add in-text citations and bibliographies to your Word document.

Note: these instructions are for Word 2016. If you’re using another version, you can find relevant instructions in your Refworks account, under the ellipsis menu (…) by selecting Tools.

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