COMM 111 Arakaki Winter 2024: Cite Your Sources

Why Cite?

We cite to:

  • Avoid plagiarism – give credit where credit is due
  • Allow our reader to follow up on points that interest them
  • Give our writing more credibility
  • Help our reader see how we came to our conclusions

When Should You Cite?

Academic research requires that you give credit for others’ work.  You should identify and give credit to the work of others when you:

  • Use a direct quote
  • Make a claim that might be challenged/questioned
  • Paraphrase of the ideas of another person
  • Offer an expert opinion

It is not necessary to give credit for commonly known facts or expressions.

Cite Your Sources in APA

Why cite your sources?

When you use someone else's words, ideas, or images in your writing, you need to give them proper credit. Providing a citation or reference enables others to locate these sources, too!  View a sample APA paper to see how citations and formatting are done.

Resources for creating APA-style citations

Free citation creation tools to help you generate APA-style citations:

  • MyBib
    • Generate citations and bibliographies by pasting a URL or searching for a resource by title
    • Covers APA 6 & 7
    • Copy and paste citations, download them as a Word doc, save them to Google Drive, print, or email them to yourself
  • NCSU Citation Builder 
    • Simple citation builder for some digital and print materials
    • Covers APA 6 & 7
    • Copy and paste your generated citation into your bibliography
  • Calvin College's Knight Cite 
    • Build citations for a wide range of resources in print, digital, multimedia, and communication
    • Covers APA 7
    • Create a free Knight Cite account to save citations and export them to Word or RTF document

Need help with hanging indentation?

MLA or APA Citations

Proper citations have to be written according the rules of a citation format.  


  • Sources cited are only those sources you actually refer to in your speech.  You will likely consult many more sources than you cite in your speech.
  • Email articles you’re interested in to yourself from the databases;  depending on the database the email will include a citation in MLA or APA format or will at least include all of the information you will need to create your citation.
  • Consult the library for examples and guides