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Step 7: Cite Your Sources



A citation is a method of documenting where an idea, a piece of information, or a quote in your paper came from.


Citation within your paper: Medieval Europe was a place both of "raids, pillages, slaver, and extortion" and of "traveling merchants, monetary exchange, towns if not cities, and active markets in grain" (Townsend 10).

Corresponding reference at the end of your paper: Townsend, Robert M. The Medieval Village Economy. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1993.



  • Failure to cite your sources constitutes plagiarism.
  • Give credit to those people whose ideas you used in your research.
  • So anyone reading your paper will have accurate references for future study.



  • See Citing Sources for examples of citations in APA, MLA, and Turabian styles.
  • Different disciplines have different citation styles.
    • APA: psychology, education, and other social sciences.
    • MLA: literature, arts, and humanities.
    • Turabian: designed for college students to use with all subjects. Popular with history scholars.
  • Ask each of your instructors which style they want you to use.

General Instructions for Citing

Citing sources consists of two steps:

  1. Cite within the text of your paper with parenthetical references or footnotes. Provide the exact page number for the passage you are citing, so anyone reading your paper can go back and find the same information.
  2. Provide a comprehensive list of all the works cited. This is called a Works Cited Page, or a Bibliography, depending on which citation style you use.