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Citations & Plagiarism

Use this guide to find help and information on citation styles and avoiding plagiarism.

General Citations & Formatting

I have all of my sources, and I'm ready to write my paper. What else do I need to do?

Using proper citation style allows us to give credit to the creators of the material we are using.  It is how we use information responsibly and respectfully.  By using citations, our claims and theories become more authorized and credible because we are providing supporting evidence from other sources.  Citations also allow us to be honest about our contributions and avoid plagiarism.  

Have you cited all of your resources? As soon as you’re ready to start writing, you’re going to need to be prepared to track and cite your sources correctly. Giving others credit for their words and ideas is not only good academic practice, it is critical to fulfilling the requirements of the University's Standards of Student Conduct.

Your professor may want you go use a certain citation style manual or guide. Be sure you know which citation format (MLA, APA, etc.) they require. These will tell you how to cite your sources. The library has paper copies of all style guides at the information/research and reserve desks, and help sites are available online. Contact us if you need help tracking-down sources for complete citations.

Luckily, if you’re using a citation generator or manager tool like RefWorks or Zotero, this stage will be simple: the software does the work for you!

APA (American Psychological Association) style is generally used in the social sciences.  As the publishing standard, APA style also provides guidelines for paper formatting.

MLA style is generally used by subject areas in the humanities.  Overall, it is simpler than other styles, featuring parenthetical citations and an alphabetized list of references at the end.  Entries for the list of works cited must be aphabetical and double-spaced, with the indent of the subsequent line one-half inch from the left margin.

Chicago style is perhaps one of the more complex citation styles because it is really two systems under one name.  The Notes/Bibliography system is used mainly in the humanities.  The Author/Date style is typically used by those in the physical, natural, and social sciences.  The main difference between the two systems the preference for notes (Notes/Bibliography) or parenthetical in-text citations (Author/Date) within the document.  For more specific information on the Chicago style, please refer to chapters 14-15 of the Chicago Manual of Style.

Turabian is based on the Chicago Manual of Style by Kate Turabian.  The two styles are so similar, they are often grouped together.  The main difference between the two styles, besides minor puncuation rules, is that Turabian has been adapted to suit the needs of students whereas Chicago focuses more on publication.  For more specific information on Turabian style, please refer to the manual in the FIU Libraries.

Scientific Style and Format presents three systems for referring to references (also known as citations) within the text of a journal article, book, or other scientific publication: 1) citation–sequence; 2) name–year; and 3) citation–name. These abbreviated references are called in-text references. They refer to a list of references at the end of the document.

The system of in-text references that you use will determine the order of references at the end of your document. These end references have essentially the same format in all three systems, except for the placement of the date of publication in the name–year system.

Though Scientific Style and Format now uses citation–sequence for its own references, each system is widely used in scientific publishing. Consult your publisher to determine which system you will need to follow.

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