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Research Guides


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

- MLA style (Modern Language Association) is typically used by the Humanities 
- APA style (American Psychological Association)  often is used by Education, Psychology, and Business
- Chicago/Turabian (Professor Turabian, University of Chicago) is generally used by History and some of the Fine Arts

Bottom line: Check with your teacher to make sure you use the style required for that class. And whatever style you choose, BE CONSISTENT!

Butler University Libraries. Citation Guides: HomeUsed under CC BY NC SA

There are many reasons why you need to cite your sources.

One is to let the reader know what the original source of your information is. This lends authority to your work and lets the instructor know that you did your research. 

You want to let your reader identify and retrieve the sources you used for their own use. 

You also want to give credit to the person whose ideas you have quoted, summarized or paraphrased. Not doing so constitutes plagiarism and is a violation of copyright law.

Remember, it does not matter where you got the information. It does not matter if you paid for it or not. You always have to say where you got it. If someone used your work, you’d want to get credit for it, too!

Butler University Libraries. Citation Guides: HomeUsed under CC BY NC SA


  • Referring to a source and stating someone else's opinions, thoughts, ideas, or research
  • Using an image or media file that you did not create

When in doubt, cite it


Handwritten text that starts with a quotation mark and ends with a parenthetical citation.

  1. Directly Quoting 
  2. Summarizing 
  3. Paraphrase 

"Which option you should choose depends on how much of a source you are using, how you are using it, and what kind of paper you are writing, since different fields use sources in different ways." Grounds for Argument. When to Quote, Paraphrase, or Summarize a Source. Used under CC BY NC SA

Image:  Random quote by Gabriel Jones. Used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


  • Your thoughts and your interpretations
  • Common knowledge​

Butler University Libraries. Citation Guides: HomeUsed under CC BY NC SA

Many different tools exist to assist you in the process of creating a citation entry. There are advantages and challenges to working with these tools. 

Common mistakes include:

-  Selecting the wrong type of information source

-  Inputting information incorrectly or leaving information out

-  Misplaced or incorrect punctuation

-  Improper capitalization

The biggest mistake is in completely trusting a citation generator to make no errors. Make sure you closely review all citations created in this way. You'll also still want to refer to your citation style guide to learn how to format your works cited/reference page.

Butler University Libraries. Citation Guides: HomeUsed under CC BY NC SA

Works cited

General resources
Modern Language Association: A variety of resources from MLA Style Center. 
Answers frequently asked questions, including ones about how to cite recent information formats such as tweets and other online resources.

Formatting / style

- MLA: Formatting a Research Paper
Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL): General Formatting: Guidelines for headers, first pages, and other format details within MLA style.

In-text citations
Purdue OWL: In-text Citations: Explains the basics of citing within your text. Includes examples for multiple authors and different types of sources.
Purdue OWL: Formatting Quotations: Guidelines for formatting short and long quotations within your text.

Works cited
Purdue OWL: Works Cited Page Basic Format: Explains basic formatting rules for your works cited page. Use the menu on the left of the screen to select the right type of source (Books, Periodicals, Electronic Sources, Other Common Sources) to create a Works Cited entry. The side menu also includes helpful information about creating tables and more.

Sample papers

Sample Papers in MLA Style 

NoodleTools is a user-friendly, online research platform that enables students to evaluate information, create citations, take notes, outline, archive source material, and prepare to write. Remember, your citation is only correct if you know what type of source you are citing and how to find all the relevant information. Ask a librarian if you have any questions.

-  NoodleTools

-  NoodleTools Express (no login required, for quick one-time citation needs)

-  NoodleTools Support

-  NoodleTools Templates

Any questions—Contact us @
We'll try to get back with you as soon as possible. At most, give us a 12-hour cycle.