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How to Cite Your Sources

When you write your research paper, you'll include lots of information from many sources. You must indicate where you found that information. This is called "citing your sources."

Why is this important?

Citing your sources gives credit to the people who provided the information, gives your work credibility, and tells the person reading your paper where you found the information.

Do I have to cite my sources?

Yes, this is not optional! You MUST cite your sources. Otherwise, you could be guilty of plagiarism or academic dishonesty, which means taking someone else's ideas and making it look as if they are your own.

How do I cite my sources?

To cite your sources (in the style established by American Psychological Association), you'll need to do two things:


PROVIDE A LIST OF "REFERENCES" AT THE END OF YOUR PAPER. This is a list of the sources you cited in your paper - books, journal articles, personal communication with experts, Web sites, or other materials.

Arrange your references in alphabetical order. Put the heading "References" centered at the top of the page.

For each item on your list, you should include information that would help the person reading your paper locate your source (e.g., title, author, publication date, publisher, etc.). The examples below show you how to format references for various types of materials.


Basic Form:
Author, A. A. (Publication Year). Book title. Place of publication: Publisher.

Book with one author:
Quinn, B. (1998). How Wal-Mart is destroying America: and what you can do about it. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press.

Book with multiple authors:
Covello, J. A., & Hazelgren, B. J. (1994). The complete book of business plans. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks.

Book with an editor rather than an author:
Lawrence, M. (Ed.). (1994). Field guide to strategy. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Book with no author:
Associations yellow book. (2003). New York: Leadership Directories.

ENTIRE BOOKS (electronic)

Basic Form:
Author, A. A. (Publication Year). Book title. Retreived from http://www.xxxxx


Author, A. A. (Publication Year). Book title. doi: xxxxxxxxxx.

Electronic book with one author:
Sheusi, J.C. (2012). Android application development for Java programmers. Retreived from

CHAPTERS OR SECTIONS (print books and online reference sources)

Basic Form:
Author, A. A. (Date). Title of section or chapter. In Editors Name(s) (Ed.), Title of Book or Online Source (volume number and/or page numbers if printed book). Place of publication if printed book: Publisher name if printed book.

Chapter or section of a book (or industry survey within a book):
Wilson, G. W. (1978). Economic systems. In L. R. Bittel & M. A. Bittel (Eds.), Encyclopedia of professional management (pp. 325-330). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Levy, J. (2004, Dec. 23). Autos & Auto Parts. In E. Bossong-Martines (Ed.), Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys (Vol. 1). New York: Standard and Poor's.

Chapter or section of a book (or industry survey within a book)--with no author:
Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars (2001). In A. Darnay (Ed.), Information, Finance and Services USA (pp. 768-770). Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group.

Section of online reference source:
Arghout, A. & Zoubir, Y. (n.d.). History (Algeria). In Europa World Online. Retrieved from

JOURNAL ARTICLES (print and online)

Basic Form:
Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume(issue), pp-pp. doi: xx.xxxxxxxx.

Journal article from a printed publication:
Herzberg, M., & Wang, S. (2002). Identifying lead analysts for stock selection. Journal of Investing, 11(2), 25-35.

Journal article from an online version of a publication, with a digital object identifier (doi) number:
O'Dwyer, B. (2003). Conceptions of corporate social responsibility: the nature of managerial culture. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 16(4), 523-557. doi: 10.1108/09513570310492290.

Journal article from a full-text online library database, with no digital object identifier (doi) number:
Herzberg, M., & Wang, S. (2002). Identifying lead analysts for stock selection. Journal of Investing, 11(2), 25-35. Retrieved from Business Insights Essentials.

Journal article from a free Web site (not a library database):
Kharif, O. (2003, December 30). Intel: king of the Wi-Fi frontier? Business Week. Retrieved from

NEWSPAPER ARTICLES (print and online)

Basic Form:
Author, A. A. (Year, Date). Article title. Newspaper Title, page number(s) including section.

Newspaper article from a printed publication:
Feder, B. J. (2002, July 18). I.B.M. beats forecasts but with signs of weakness. The New York Times, p. C1.

Newspaper article from a library database:
Feder, B. J. (2002, July 18). I.B.M. beats forecasts but with signs of weakness. The New York Times. Retrieved from LexisNexis Academic.

Newspaper article from a free Web site (not a library database):
Turner, S. (2003, December 30). Downtown camera shop closes. Burlington Free Press. Retrieved from


Basic Form:
Author/editor/organization. (Last update or copyright date listed on the Web page). Page Title. Retrieved [date you accessed the page] from [URL]

Web page:
Foster Business Library. (2002). Financial ratios calculator. Retrieved August 28, 2002, from

Web page with no author:
Financial ratios calculator. (2002). Retrieved August 28, 2002, from

Web page with no date:
Foster Business Library. (n.d.). Financial ratios calculator. Retrieved August 28, 2002, from


Basic Form:
Author, A. A. (Publication Year or Date). Title of Company Profile or Industry Report. Retrieved from database name or URL.

SEC report from the EDGAR database:
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. (2003). Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended September 27, 2003. Retrieved from

Industry report from the IBISWorld database - no author:
Soybean farming in the US:11111. (March 26, 2009). Retrieved from IBISWorld.

Company profile from the Hoover's Company Profiles database:
Cella, Jason. (2009). Comcast Corporation, fact sheet. Retrieved from Hoover's Company Profiles.

Company profile from the OneSource database - no author:
American International Group--company summary. (2009). Retrieved from OneSource.


Sometimes a database asks you to enter information or select data variables and then presents pages, tables or reports based on what you entered. If there is no author listed, use the name of the company that produced the database as the author and provide the title of the database.

Experian Simmons. (2010). Title of the report you generated [Custom cross-tabulation of data]. Retrieved from National Consumer Study.


Personal communication includes letters, memos, and e-mail messages you personally receive or telephone conversations and interviews you have with people. Because personal communications are not recoverable by the person reading your paper, they are not included in the reference list. Simply cite your communication in the text of your paper, as shown in the following examples:

According to W. Gates (personal communication, August 20, 2002), Microsoft has done nothing wrong.

Microsoft is the best software company in the world (W. Gates, personal communication, August 20, 2002).


YOU MUST INCLUDE "CITATIONS" TO YOUR SOURCES THROUGHOUT YOUR PAPER, wherever you have included information that came from a source. Here's how:

In the body of your text, provide the author last name(s) followed by the publication year, enclosed in parentheses. This enables the reader to refer to your list of references in the back of your paper to learn more about the source of information.
One theory of strategy (Lawrence, 1994) states that. . .

When you include a direct quote in your paper, you should also include the page number of the source from which you took the quotation.
"Whenever an organization succeeds in functioning within the TQM paradigm, its performance improves in every respect" (Barrett, 1994, p. 19).

If you include a direct quotation from online material that doesn't have page numbers, cite the heading and the number of the paragraph following the heading.
"Most of the savings in the Obama bill would come from cuts in Medicare reimbursements" (Wallace, 2010, "Will Required Cuts Really Get Made? para. 3).

If you name the author in the text of your paper, you don't need to repeat his/her name in parentheses.
Herzberg and Wang (2002) offer the following advice on choosing stocks. . .

If the source has no author, place the first few words of the title along with the publication year in parentheses.
The word "commodity" is defined as "an article of commerce" (Webster's New Collegiate, 1981, p. 224).

For more citation instructions and examples, see Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition, at Bailey/Howe Reference Desk, BF76.7.A46, and APA Style Guide compiled by Sacramento State Univeristy Library at

© Trina Magi, University of Vermont Libraries, 2002
Page last updated February 20, 2013

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