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Citation: What is it?



Have you ever recounted what a friend said in conversation? "He said" this, or "they said" that. You are attributing what was said to someone else. We cite all the time verbally, and don't really notice. 

Citing, or "to cite", means to identify and give credit to the person whose idea you are using. This means providing information so someone else can locate the specific article, book, chapter, website, law, piece of art or music, etc., that you used in your research. This allows the reader to fact-check your information and follow what you did.

There are many styles of citation, and the citation style you use will be dictated by the discipline (department) in which you are writing. Generally speaking, all citations will usually include:


  • Author(s) (Or creator, artist, etc.
  • Title
  • Name of journal (if the item is an article)
  • Publication information (where it was published, and by what company)
  • Date of publication
  • URL                                                                                                    




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"Mimi and Eunice" cartoons CC-BY-SA Nina Paley