Skip to main content

APA Style: Citing Your Sources

What is the purpose of a citation?

What is the purpose of citations?

Citations help readers locate your sources. They help to continue the scholarly conversation. To learn more about how citations can help you avoid plagiarism, view this interactive tutorial: 

USC Library Lessons: Avoiding Plagiarism through Citations

When considering citations and references for your papers, you can ask yourself, "could someone find this information in the future?"

A client's personal file would not need a citation because your reader cannot go find that information again.  Census statistics would require a citation because your reader could go locate that information again.

APA requires FOUR ELEMENTS of every citation:

  • Who- Author of content
  • When- Date content was published
  • What- Title of content
  • Where- Publication information. This can be the website you got it from or the journal or book's publication information.

If any of the elements listed above are unavailable, check out "Missing pieces: How to write an APA style reference even without all the information" from APA Style Blog for more information.

Quick Links