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Citing and Avoiding Plagiarism


This Subject Guide was designed to provide you with assistance in citing your sources when writing a paper.

There are different styles which format the information differently, so select the tab for the style you need and take a look at some examples.


There are quite a few different ways to cite resources in your paper. The citation style usually depends on the academic discipline involved. For example:

  • MLA style is typically used by the Humanities
  • APA style is often used by Education, Psychology, and Business.
  • Chicago/Turabian is generally used by History and some of the Fine Arts

Check with your professor to make sure you use the required style. And whatever style you choose, BE CONSISTENT!


Following are several online or desktop/laptop based citation builders that are geared towards helping students with the main academic citation styles: American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), and Chicago Manual of Style. Even though these online citation builders have been developed to provide consistent citations with the rules set out by the citation style guides, users are ultimately responsible for the citations and should be sure to proofread them for accuracy.

Zotero logo  Zotero - A free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources. NOTE: New version works with multiple browsers.

  Mendeley- helps you organize your research in one place, can be used online or offline, helps to generate your citations and bibliography, publicly or privately share reading lists, reference, or articles and allows you to connect with others. 

Papyrus - a free bibliography system & knowledge manager that you download and install on your home computer and is available for both Windows and Mac.

Biblioscape - designed to help researchers collect and manage bibliographic data, take notes while doing research, and generate citations and bibliographies for publication. ($)

  Citation Builder - does citations for books, chapters or essays from books, magazine articles, newspaper articles, journal articles, and web sites. After filling out a form, only the bibliographic citation is provided.

KnightCite - generates bibliographic citations for MLA, APA and the Chicago Manual of Style, and it cites a variety of materials ranging from sacred texts to cartoons.

   Paperpile - No-fuss reference management for the web.  Manage your research library right in your browser / Save time with a smart, intuitive interface / Access your PDFs from anywhere / Format citations within Google Docs

  BibMe -  From Chegg: free trial, auto-fill bibliographic generator that will format your bibliography to the main citation styles.

  Citation Machine - From Chegg: aid for writing a research papers and assignments. After filling out the appropriate fields based on citation standards and submitting the form, the individual conveniently gets the bibliographic citation and in-text citation. 

  Easybib - From Chegg is another useful citation tool for a variety of main citation styles. Some extended services available with registration and payment of subscription fee.  MLA is free; APA and Chicago/Turabian styles require account registration & subscription.

  CiteThisForMe-  From Chegg: Our free tools are designed to help you quickly prepare an entire bibliography or reference list in three simple steps: 1. Add references or citations. 2. Choose your citation style. 3. Add the bibliography to your paper. It’s that easy! Whether you’re just starting your paper, or trying to finish it up the night before it’s due, Cite This For Me is here for you, 24/7.

Research Papers

"Academic writing is at its root a conversation among scholars about a topic or question...Given the importance of this conversation to research, authors must have comprehensible, verifiable means of referring to one another's work.  Such references enable them to give credit to the precursors whose ideas they borrow, build on or contradict and allow future researchers interested in the history of the conversation to trace it back to its beginning." (emphasis added)

MLA Handbook. 8th Edition. New York: MLA. 5. Print.

Properly citing your sources will help you synthesize your research with your own ideas and avoid plagiarism.


This LibGuide was created by Scott Pfitzinger, Information Commons & Technology Librarian at Butler University, Indianapolis, IN. Other users of LibGuides are welcome to use this Guide as a template and to make changes as necessary to fit their custom needs.

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