Skip to main content

CCCC Library: Citation Help

All Things Citation

Use the related tabs to assist you with all things related to citations: why we cite, MLA, APA, CSE, Chicago, and also a note on plagiarism. 

The following titles can be found in our library catalog. 


Why Do I Need To Cite?

Any time you use information you learned from another source, you need to cite it in your paper. Citing allows others to be able to consult the original source of information and verify it for accuracy and reliability. Citing sources also makes your argument stronger. Demonstrating that you have included information from a source that has some authority in its field gives additional weight to the conclusions you draw from those sources. Failure to properly attribute sources can result in plagiarism, which has serious consequences for your academic career.


How Do I Cite?

Put simply, citation is properly attributing where a particular piece of information came from. There are different standards of citations, such as MLA and APA, and you should check with your instructor to see which style they prefer. However, citations will typically include the following information:

  • Author: Who wrote this?
  • Title: What is the work titled?
  • Date: When was it published? And for websites, when was this page accessed?
  • Publisher: Who published it? Or what organization is attached to this?
  • Page: Where in the work did this information come from?

Though this may change slightly depending on the work and whether it is a print or online source, generally these are the main points that are included in a citation. For more information on how to format a citation properly, both in-text and in a works cited page or bibliography, visit Owl Purdue or click on one of the tabs above. 

Subject Specific Styles: 

Your instructor will want your citations to follow a particular format, and this will change how your citation works. Be sure to check which style your instructor wants, but generally (not always):

  • The humanities (English, history, fine arts, etc.) use the MLA style
  • The social sciences (psychology, sociology, etc.) use the APA style
  • The natural sciences (biology, chemistry, etc.) use the CSE style
  • Sometimes, history instructors will request the use of the Chicago style

Though it sounds like a lot to remember, the formats aren't too different. At the top of this page you'll find links to help you build citations in those formats. And if you need additional help, please contact the librarian staff at

Definition According to the Oxford English Dictionary:

  1. The action or practice of taking someone else's work, idea, etc., and passing it off as one's own; literary theft.
  2. A particular idea, piece of writing, design, etc., which has been plagiarized; an act or product of plagiary.

So, in a nutshell, taking credit for someone else's work, intentionally or unintentionally, constitutes plagiarism.

How to avoid plagiarism: 

  • paraphrase the content but still give credit to where the information came from
  • use quotation marks around direct quotes taken from a source
  • if it isn't common knowledge, it probably needs a citation. 

Coastal Carolina Community College and Plagiarism: 


Core Elements of a Works Cited Entry

Citation Generators

Found the perfect article, but don't know how to cite it? Try one of these citation generators to quickly create a proper citation.

Important: Although these are useful resources, you always want to double check the generated citation to ensure that it is accurate.