Citation is a matter of ethics. It
is important to give credit to the sources you used
for your research. This is standard practice at every
level of education and in every profession.
All new ideas have been built on the
work of others and you honor those experts whose work
Someone reading your paper should always
be able to tell when you are presenting your ideas
and conclusions and when you are using someone else's
Someone reading your paper may want to consult the same resources you used for their own research purposes.
Using another person's words or ideas
without acknowledging that person's work is plagiarism!
How do I cite my sources?
You must cite your sources
in TWO ways:
A list of all your sources at the end of your
paper titled Works Cited or Bibliography.
Brief citations within the text of your paper
called Parenthetical References.
There are several styles for citing
sources. Fay School uses the MLA (Modern Language
Association) style. The MLA Handbook for Writers
of Research Papers by Joseph Gibaldi will answer
any question you may have about MLA style. There are
several copies of this book in the reference section
of the Fay Library (REF 808.027 GIB).
Use NoodleBib, the online citation
generator. There’s a link right in the middle
of the Fay Library home page. By providing prompts
and asking questions, NoodleBib makes it easier to
cite your sources. How
do I use NoodleBib?
What is a works cited list?
A Works Cited list
includes all the sources you used for your research.
It may also be called a Bibliography
(“biblio” refers to books and “graphy”
refers to description). Since students today use online
sources as well as books, we use the term Works
Cited, but Bibliography
is also acceptable.
A works cited list helps anyone who
reads your paper find out more about your ideas and
where they came from.
KEY TO SUCCESS: Save
time and cite as you go! When you find a source you
will use, add it to your NoodleBib works cited list
What type of source am I citing?
The NoodleBib prompt, Cite a:
<Select a citation type>, is the crucial
first step in citing a source correctly. Decide first
what the source is and then indicate where you found
it. These are some of your choices when you use NoodleBib
BOOK: Is it a book
or a reference source? If you are using a book you
might read all the way through, choose BOOK. If it
is a book you would use to find factual information
but not read all the way through, choose REFERENCE
SOURCE. If the book has a Reference
label on the spine it comes from the reference section
of the library, so REFERENCE SOURCE is probably the
JOURNAL: A journal
has scholarly articles with numerous citations. The
author’s credentials are always given. Articles
are peer reviewed, which means they are evaluated
by experts in the field. Journals are the way scholars
share their research. A journal may be print or online.
Journal Examples: JAMA: The Journal of the American
Medical Association; American Economic Review; Journal
of American History; Cell.
MAGAZINE: A magazine
is designed to appeal to a general audience. Magazine
articles do not have citations, although they may
provide suggestions for further reading. Choose MAGAZINE
for an online magazine article (like CQ Researcher)
not WEB SITE. Magazine Examples: National Geographic;
Odyssey; Smithsonian; Discover.
NEWSPAPER OR NEWSWIRE: For
online newspaper articles, be sure to choose NEWSPAPER,
not WEB SITE. A newswire is a service that provides
articles to news media. Newswire Examples: AP; UPI;
REFERENCE SOURCE: Choose
REFERENCE SOURCE for articles from reference books,
whether in print or online. Reference Source Examples:
Encyclopedias (print or online); history and biography
WEB SITE: Choose WEB
SITE for almost anything you find using a search engine
(like Google) that is not an online newspaper, journal,
or magazine. When NoodleBib asks for more information,
you will usually choose GENERAL WEB PAGE.
UNIQUE URL or SUBSCRIPTION
DATABASE? NoodleBib will ask you to make
this choice for every online reference source, magazine,
or newspaper. If you can find your source through
a search engine (like Google), choose UNIQUE URL.
If you found the source through any subscription or
database link on the Library Web site, choose SUBSCRIPTION
DATABASE. Subscription Database Examples: Gale
Databases; American History Online; Biography in Context; Grolier Online; Britannica Online.
THE TWO MOST COMMON STUDENT
Choosing UNIQUE URL all the time. Be sure you
can recognize a SUBSCRIPTION DATABASE.
Choosing WEB SITE for every online source. The
fact that your source is online doesn’t
make it a web site!
Where do I find the information
I need for citations?
BOOK: Everything you
need for your citation is on the title page and the
back of the title page (called the verso). Never trust
the cover! If you photocopy pages from a book, make
it a habit to also copy the title page and the verso
and staple it all together.
If there are several cities of publication,
use the first one.
The Easy Way: Search for the
book in the library catalog using keywords from
the author, title or subject. When you click on
the title, you’ll see all the information
you need for your citation: author, title, and
publication information (city, publisher and publication
REFERENCE BOOK ARTICLES:
If the author’s name is given, it may appear
at the beginning or the end of the article.
ONLINE SUBSCRIPTIONS &
DATABASE ARTICLES: Most of these provide
the citation at the end of each article. If there
are several citation styles, choose MLA style.
WEB SITE: You may
need to do a little detective work. If the author’s
name is given, it may be at the top or bottom of the
page. You will also need the name of the specific
page or article, the title of the entire web site
and the name of the sponsoring organization.
Look for an About link on the page for information
about the sponsoring organization. If you can’t
determine the author or sponsoring organization
for a web site, don’t use it! Your sources
should all be written by experts.
Always copy and paste the URL of a web site
into NoodleBib to be sure it’s correct.
IMAGE: If the image
doesn’t have a title, create a description yourself.
Examples: “Mitosis;” “Panda;”
What are parenthetical references?
Parenthetical references are brief
citations (placed in parentheses) within the text
of your paper that show exactly where you found information
within a source in your works cited list.
The MLA style uses parenthetical references
for citing sources within the text of your paper.
Every source you cite in your paper must also appear
in your works cited list.
Within the text of your paper, when
you need to cite a source, simply put in parentheses
the first word or several words from the works cited
list for that source followed by the page number if
it is a print source. This sentence includes a parenthetical
reference for the page in MLA Handbook for Writers
of Research Papers where you will find complete
instructions for using parenthetical references (Gibaldi
KEY TO SUCCESS: Insert
parenthetical references as you write, not after!
You’ll be glad you did.
Don’t use any punctuation within the parentheses,
and if there is no author, just use the first
important word or two of the title (not “a”,
For a print source, don’t use the abbreviations
p. or pg. or write the word “page”
before the page number. This sentence includes
a reference for information from page 26 of a
book by Francesca Baines (Baines 26).
For a web site, use the author’s last
name if given, or the first word(s) of the bibliographic
entry (no page number needed). Here’s a
web site example for information from a web page
authored by Daniel Flueck and titled “Protanopia”
that a student used for research on color blindness
(Flueck, “Protanopia”). The article
title is included here because there are two online
articles by the same author in the works cited
Why do I need parenthetical references?
Your works cited list shows the sources
you used for your research, but you also need to indicate
the specific facts or ideas you used
and exactly where you found them.
Citing sources within the text of your
paper allows you to use the work of others without
Citing sources within the text of your
paper strengthens your work by providing support for
KEY TO SUCCESS: Enter
your sources in NoodleBib as you find them. Then click
on Parenthetical Reference for a
suggestion of how to create a parenthetical reference
for that particular source. Cite as you write!
What do I have to cite?
Any important facts, ideas or statistics
taken from the work of others, whether you quote directly
Someone else’s exact words that
Any opinions, interpretations or conclusions
that are someone else’s work. Even if you put
these into your own words, you must still cite them!
Any image, photograph, illustration,
graph, chart or diagram you did not create yourself.
Use the same format for parenthetical references (don’t
copy and paste the URL), but instead of at the end
of a sentence, place it under the image like a caption.
If you’re not sure if you should
cite something, it is better to cite it. If you omit
a necessary citation, it might be considered plagiarism,
even though you did not intentionally plagiarize.
When in doubt, CITE.
Quote It, You Note It! is a very clever online
tutorial to help you avoid plagiarism. Ten minutes
here could save your academic life!
What don’t I have to cite?
Commonly known, generally accepted
facts. For middle school students, this means things
that most people in your grade would know.
Freely-available clip art.
Phrases that are part of everyday speech
such as “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Your own ideas, opinions or conclusions.
Please remember that the personal pronoun “I”
should not be used in a research paper.
That George Washington was the first president
of the United States is a commonly known fact
which does not require a citation. The fact that
he was an accomplished dancer does require a citation.
That H2O is the chemical symbol for water is
a commonly known fact which does not require a
citation. The fact that the tetrahedral crystalline
structure breaks down when ice melts to form liquid
water does require a citation.
“I don’t need to cite it because it’s
not a quotation.” This is not true. You must use
a citation for someone else’s idea—even
if you paraphrase it.
What about images?
If it is not your own original photograph,
illustration, graph, chart or diagram, you must cite
If you found your online image through
a Google image search, choose WEB SITE as your citation
type in NoodleBib. If the image doesn’t have
a title, create a description yourself. Examples:
“Mitosis;” “Vision Chart.”
If your online image is from a source
you used for your research, you don’t need to
create a separate citation in your works cited list.
Just use the parenthetical reference as a caption
for the image.
To cite an image within the text of
your paper, use the form for parenthetical references,
but instead of at the end of a sentence, place it
under the image like a caption. Don’t copy and
paste the URL.
Freely-available clip art does not
need to be cited.
But I still can’t figure it
Okay, it's not easy. Ask a teacher, ask
a librarian, or use the MLA Handbook for Writers
of Research Papers. Remember that earnest effort
is one of Fay's core values! Just do your best.