How to Cite Sources

What is a citation?

A citation is, quite simply, a reference to a source. Whenever you consult information and use it in your research, you must provide a citation for that source.

What is a citation style?

A citation style is a certain way of writing a citation. Thousands of citation styles exist, but only a handful of these styles are widely used.

What citation style do technical writers use?

Many different styles! During your time at UTC though, you will most likely use MLA, but we will cover APA in this post as well since you are likely to use it in other classes.

Where can I learn how to use MLA style?

The Library is here to help! First, we carry the MLA Handbook, available for use in the Library. Most of you will not be doing research in the Library though, and we’ve got you covered too! Follow this link to our research guide on using MLA. There are several great sites listed on this research guide that you can use to learn more. Also, there are two example pages for how certain works (newspapers, websites, journals, etc.) should be cited, both in the text of your document and in the “works cited” or bibliography. Find these pages by clicking on the arrow next to “MLA Style” as seen below.

What if I’m asked to use APA?

Same process as for MLA style, just for APA. The homepage of the APA guide can be found here.

Do I really have to cite my sources?

Yes! Citing your sources gives credit where credit is due. If you don’t cite your sources (called plagiarism) and your professor finds out (which is way easier to do now), you could fail the assignment, fail the course, be taken to the University’s Honor Court , or potentially expelled.

I still need help!

No problem! The Library offers a workshop series that includes classes on plagiarism and citing sources properly. If these don’t fit into your schedule, not to worry! Librarians are here to help! Ask questions virtually using our chat service or schedule an appointment with a librarian.

Questions about how to cite sources? Contact the author, Chapel Cowden, at Chapel is Health and Sciences Librarian and an Assistant Professor at UTC. She is a self-described guide in the information wilderness for all of the health and science disciplines on campus, including the Engineering Department.