Citing Your Sources

Why do you have to cite your sources?

No research paper is complete without a list of the sources that you used in your writing.  Scholars are very careful to keep accurate records of the resources they’ve used, and of the ideas and concepts they’ve quoted or used from others. This record keeping is generally presented in the form of citations.

A citation is a description of a book, article, URL, etc. that provides enough information so that others can locate the source you used. Citations usually include author(s), date of publication, title, and publisher’s name and location (and for articles: journal title, volume, issue and page numbers). They allow you to credit the authors of the sources you use and clarify which ideas belong to you and which belong to other sources. And providing a citation or reference will allow others to find and use these sources as well.  Most research papers have a list of citations or cited references and there are special formatting guidelines for different types of research.

The Library has guides specific to certain fields of study, or your professor or instructor may request a specific bibliographic and citation style.  Always check with your professor regarding the citation style they prefer.

Citation help

The following resources are excellent tools for quick look-ups on how to properly cite and format bibliographies.

Citation Management Tools

Citation management tools allow you to organize your research.  In addition to saving citation information and linking to PDFs, many programs also assist with in-text citations and bibliography formatting.

  • Zotero: Zotero is a Firefox add-on that facilitates collecting, managing and citing journal articles, books, and other materials. Also, works with Chrome and Safari browsers.
  • EndNoteEndNote is an exceptional citation manager, requiring downloading from the NUS Software Catalogue.
  • MendeleyMendeley allows for all the typical features of a citation manager, plus the ability to annotate PDFs.

Style Manuals

The Yale-NUS Library is a rich resource for citation help!  We have style guides on the most popular citation styles, as well as dozens of books about academic writing.  Need help getting started?  Ask A Librarian!  or consult our subject guide.

Popular books on Citation Styles

Cover Art

Cite right: a quick guide to citation styles–MLA, APA, Chicago, the sciences, professions, and more – Charles Lipson

Call Number: YNCL PN171 Foo.Li 2011
ISBN: 9780226484648
Publication Date: 2011-05-15
Popular overview of all major systems of citation, including most current versions of Chicago, MLA, APA, and other styles.


Cover Art

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers – Joseph Gibaldi; Modern Language Association of America

Call Number: YNCL LB2369 Gib 2009
ISBN: 9781603290241
Publication Date: 2009-01-01
Step-by-step advice on every aspect of writing research papers, from selecting a topic to submitting the completed paper.


Cover Art

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association – American Psychological Association

Call Number: CL BF76.7 Pub 2010
ISBN: 9781433805615
Publication Date: 2009-07-15



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An Easy Guide to APA Style – Beth M. Schwartz; R. Eric Landrum; Regan A. R. Gurung

Call Number: YNCL BF76.7 Sch 2014
ISBN: 9781452268392
Publication Date: 2013-02-15
This book presents easy-to-understand explanations of how to write research papers, cite research, and do any work requiring APA format. The authors simplify the process with easy-to-follow advice, tips, and visual representations of how to use APA style.


Cover Art

The Chicago Manual of Style – University of Chicago

Online Resource
ISBN: 9780226104201
Publication Date: 2010-08-01
The Chicago Manual of Style is the authoritative, trusted source that writers, editors, and publishers turn to for guidance on style and process. Both print and online available.


Cover ArtScientific style and format : the CSE manual for authors, editors, and publishers / Style Manual Committee Council of Science Editors.
YNCL Books T11 Sci 2014
ISBN: 9780226116495
Publication Date: 2014
Scientific Style and Format is the most recognized, authoritative reference for authors, editors, publishers, students, and translators in all areas of science and related fields.


Cover Art

MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing – Modern Language Association of America

Call Number: Central Library PN147 Gib 2008
ISBN: 9780873522977
Publication Date: 2008-01-01
Reorganized and revised, the third edition of the MLA Style Manual offers complete, up-to-date guidance on writing scholarly texts, documenting research sources, submitting manuscripts to publishers, and dealing with legal issues surrounding publication.

Writing Resources:

The Yale-NUS College Library is building a comprehensive collection of resources to help you with questions or issues about writing, citing and academic integrity.  Visit the Library to explore our growing collection of writing guides and citation style manuals.  Here is an abridged list of helpful titles:

Bailey, S. (2011). Academic writing: a handbook for international students. New York: Routledge. NUS E-book
Graff, G., & Birkenstein, C. (2010). They say / I say: the moves that matter in academic writing. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. Yale-NUS College Library: PE1431 Gra 2010
Greene, S., & Lidinsky, A. (2012). From inquiry to academic writing: a practical guide. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martins. Yale-NUS College Library: LB2369 Grn 2012
Lipson, C. (2013). Doing honest work in college: how to prepare citations, avoid plagiarism, and achieve real academic success (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Yale-NUS College Library: PN171 Foo.L 2008
Posner, R. A. (2007). The little book of plagiarism. New York: Pantheon Books. Yale-NUS College Library: K1485 Pos 2007
Weyers, J. D. B., & McMillan, K. (2013). How to cite, reference & avoid plagiarism at university. New York: Prentice Hall. Yale-NUS College Library: PN171 Foo.We 2012


Creative Commons Licence
“Citing Sources” is a portion of Starting Your Research by University of California Santa Cruz, University Library . This tutorial is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Some content has been modified to suit the curricular and research needs of Yale-NUS College. All changes are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.