Something important to remember is that a lot of databases available to you have a citation generator for the articles you find on their websites. Databases like those produced by Gale Cengage Learning allow you to look up different articles and then choose which type of citation you need, and the citation will then be generated for you.
We can all agree that nobody likes citations, and more often than not, we don't know which type of citation to use. However citations are incredibly important when it comes to giving credit to those whose work assisted you in writing your paper.
Why do we have citations? Because when we write a paper we are drawing information from other people's work. Everyone deserves credit for their work, and when you use their information, it's your job to credit them with their assistance, or else you are stealing credit and ideas from that author.
Plagiarism is something we must always be aware of because the last thing you want is to copy another person's work, and to call it your own. There is no faster way to fail a paper and possibly face suspension consequences. You wouldn't want someone taking credit for your work, so don't do it to theres!
However, in the end, most citation mistakes and plagiarism issues are of pure accident, because so many students don't understand the citation process. It's okay. We are here to help!
The two most commonly used forms of citation are APA formatting, and MLA formatting. In high school, you were probably encouraged to use MLA first. However now that you're in college, you must be aware of these different types. When assigned a paper, always be sure to find out what kind of citation formatting that your teacher would prefer.
Purdue OWL is a website organized to assist in the citation process. Purdue OWL has mapped out the different citations available to you and has given examples for different types of sources.
You would think that perhaps a book and a magazine have the same type of citation, but that isn't necessarily true; and with every paper, it is your job as the writer to find out the exact type of resource you have and the correct way to cite it.
Each link below directs you to the Purdue OWL webpage for each type of citation. From there, you can scroll down the list of possible questions and topics to find the one useful to you. Purdue OWL offers several samples and types of citations for you, so you can grow comfortable with the different types. Don't be intimidated by citation creation; it's not as hard as you think!
(Please note: There is a citation generator on this site that is not free or recommended. See the list of recommended citation generators on our guide to Style Guides and Manuals.)
Some books also provide a citation for you to use.