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Tutoring Services: Citations

A general guide to common questions about writing and grammar

Help with Citations

As you begin to write your paper, you will need to consult a style manual for the correct style format. Your professor will most likely tell you what style to use.

Links to online style guides are included on this page and paper copies of several different style guides are available at the Citation Center book display. If you have any questions about citation format, contact the:

Reference Desk: 508 565-1103 or 1203

Writing Center: 508-565-1208

Four Steps to Referencing


At the time of reading a document, record all of the information (descriptive elements) necessary to create a citation. The data you record should include the page numbers for direct quotations and for journal articles or book chapters.

The descriptive elements for a variety of document types are listed below. These lists will help you to keep the information necessary to create your references. Be careful with photocopied articles from journals or chapters from books. You must keep a record of the journal where the article was published or the book where you found the chapter.

Please note: you may not need to use all of these elements for every citation.

Whole Book

  • author’s surname and initials or given name
  • title of publication
  • title of series, if applicable
  • volume number or number of volumes, if applicable
  • edition, if not the first
  • editor, reviser, compiler or translator, if other than the author
  • publisher
  • place of publication (first named)
  • year of publication
  • page number/s, if applicable

Parts of books (Chapters, sections, conference papers, etc.)

In addition to the details for the Whole Book (see above) record the following information specific to the part.

  • Author's surname and initials or given name (of the part)
  • Title of the part
  • Inclusive page numbers of the part

Journal articles

  • Author’s surname and initials or given name
  • Title of the article
  • Title of the journal
  • Volume and issue number
  • Year of publication
  • Inclusive page numbers

Electronic documents

Some examples of electronic format documents are internet pages, journal articles published on the internet or journal articles retrieved from a fulltext database.

For electronic journal articles record the descriptive elements specified above for journal articles. In addition, record relevant data from the following list.

Not all electronic documents have an obvious author or title so you will sometimes need to use your own judgment to determine these details. Be aware that pagination may not be present or appropriate for many electronic publications.

Some documents are published in both paper and electronic formats, for example, government reports and journal articles. Please cite according to the format you have accessed.

The following is a list of common descriptive elements you may need to record for citation of an electronic document. This list is comprehensive. The elements you record will depend upon the type of electronic document you are describing.

  • Authors surname and initials or given name if present
  • Title of the document
  • Title of the webpage
  • Database name
  • Page or section numbers if given
  • Format (online or cdrom or electronic if you are not sure)
  • Year of publication or latest update date
  • Internet address
  • DOI


File or store this information, and the source documents if you have them, in a manner and format that is easily accessed at a later date. You may wish to write all details on the print copy of an article you are using; or you may wish to keep a system of filing cards for each reference item you use. Alternatively, you may decide to maintain a master reference list on your computer, which you add details to as required. There are a number of software packages now available, for example, EndNote, which you can use to create databases of your references. These programs can be used to produce reference or works cited lists in a specified style. Please enquire at the Reference Desk in the Library for more information about training sessions and software for EndNote.


Construct your citations within the text of your essay, using the appropriate guidelines for the style of citation you are using.


Create either a reference or works cited list at the end of your essay or thesis. Titles of books and journal titles should be italicised. The use of capitals and punctuation should be consistent and will vary according to the citation style being used.

  • The usual arrangement for a reference or works cited list for author-date styles is a single sequence in alphabetical order by author, with the author's surname preceding the initials or given name. Where an item has no author, it is usual to list it alphabetically by title in the reference list or bibliography in sequence by the first significant word of the title
  • The usual arrangement for a reference or works cited list for notational styles is a single sequence in numerical order

MacPhaidin Library Citation Guides

Listed below are citation LibGuide for the most popular citation style.  Please contact the Reference desk if you have any questions. 

There are printed citation handouts available at the Citation Center book display. 


Online Style Guides

OWL Citation Style Guide

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