You need to cite sources in your papers to avoid plagiarism and allow readers to track down the source content. But how should you format the citations and bibliography?
There are several citation styles to choose from, and some are for specific subjects or publications. Check with your instructor or publisher for the preferred style.
Use the guides below to see citation rules and examples. Or collect your references in one of our citation management tools that formats citations for you.
|American Psychological Association guide (used in the social sciences)||OWL APA guide (Purdue University)||APA quick citation guide (Penn State University)|
|Chicago guide (used in history and some social sciences)||OWL Chicago guide (Purdue University)||Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. (requires NetID/password)||Chicago Manual of Style Online, 17th ed. (requires NetID/password)|
|Modern Language Association guide (used in the humanities)||OWL MLA guide (Purdue University)|
Ehrenreich, B. (2001). Nickel and dimed: On (not) getting by in America. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company.
The annotation above both summarizes and assesses the book in the citation. The first paragraph provides a brief summary of the author's project in the book, covering the main points of the work. The second paragraph points out the project’s strengths and evaluates its methods and presentation. This particular annotation does not reflect on the source’s potential importance or usefulness for this person’s own research.
Source: Purdue Online Writing Lab
A literature review is a summary of the published work in a field of study. This can be a section of a larger paper or article, or can be the focus of an entire paper. Literature reviews show that you have examined the breadth of knowledge and can justify your thesis or research questions. They are also valuable tools for other researchers who need to find a summary of that field of knowledge.
Unlike an annotated bibliography, which is a list of sources with short descriptions, a literature review synthesizes sources into a summary that has a thesis or statement of purpose—stated or implied—at its core.
How do I write a literature review?
Step 1: Define your research scope
What is the specific research question that your literature review helps to define?
Are there a maximum or minimum number of sources that your review should include?
Step 2: Identify the literature
Start by searching broadly. Literature for your review will typically be acquired through scholarly books, journal articles, and/or dissertations. Develop an understanding of what is out there, what terms are accurate and helpful, etc., and keep track of all of it with citation management tools. If you need help figuring out key terms and where to search, ask us.
Use citation searching to track how scholars interact with, and build upon, previous research:
Step 3: Critically analyze the literature
|Key to your literature review is a critical analysis of the literature collected around your topic. The analysis will explore relationships, major themes, and any critical gaps in the research expressed in the work. Read and summarize each source with an eye toward analyzing authority, currency, coverage, methodology, and relationship to other works. The University of Toronto's Writing Center provides a comprehensive list of questions you can use to analyze your sources.|
Step 4: Categorize your resources
Divide the available resources that pertain to your research into categories reflecting their roles in addressing your research question. Possible ways to categorize resources include organization by:
Regardless of the division, each category should be accompanied by thorough discussions and explanations of strengths and weaknesses, value to the overall survey, and comparisons with similar sources. You may have enough resources when:
In college courses, you're continually engaged with other people's ideas. You might read them in texts, hear them in lectures, discuss them in class, and incorporate them into your own writing. It's important that you give credit where credit is due.
What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism is using other people's ideas and words without clearly acknowledging the source of that information. It can be intentional, but you might do it without even realizing it.
There can be serious consequences for plagiarizing, from getting a zero on a paper to a full-blown lawsuit. But, don't worry! We'll help you learn what needs to be cited and how to avoid plagiarism.
To avoid plagiarism, you must give credit whenever you:
Quoting is copying the exact words from a source. This is fine as long as you place quotations around the passage you're quoting and properly cite the source.
Be sure to:
Paraphrasing is restating a passage from a source in your own words. Being able to recognize the differences between acceptable and unacceptable paraphrasing will help you avoid unintentional plagiarism.
Be sure to:
Whether you're paraphrasing, summarizing, or quoting, you need to cite your sources whenever you use any research, words, or ideas that aren't your own. The only things you don't need to cite are information that's considered common knowledge and your own original research, words, or ideas.
Also, make a bibliography at the end of your paper that lists all the sources you used.
Accidental Plagiarism tutorial
Learn how to avoid accidental plagiarism through this interactive tutorial. You'll learn how accidental plagiarism can occur and how to prevent it through the correct use of paraphrasing, summarizing, and quoting of sources. A brief quiz is included.
Think Tank Writing Center
Go to the Writing Center at the Think Tank to get help with your papers and writing.
Writing Skills Improvement Program
Register for this program to schedule tutoring sessions and improve your writing skills.
University of Arizona Libraries Avoiding Plagiarism
More examples and resources are available through the UA Libraries website