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  • Citation & Research Questions

    This will help you find books at the Long Beach City College Libraries.


    Citation Basics

    At Long Beach City College you will be working primarily with the MLA if you are an English student or studying a discipline in the humanities, and you will be working with the APA style guide if you are a psychology student or conducting research in the social sciences.

    There are other organizations with their own citation styles such as the Harvard citation style and the American Medical Association citation style. These are specialty styles that one will use when they progress further into their academic careers if you pursue a career that aligns with the disciplines each style oversees. However it is entirely possible to use MLA or APA through your entire educational career. Even those who conduct dissertations in the humanities and social sciences will continue to use MLA and APA when they earn their doctorate degrees.

    When writing an academic paper, your professor will ask you to cite your sources.  This requires you to use in-text citations which link to information about your sources on an end page known as a bibliography, works cited, or reference list. The in-text citations, end pages, and the paper itself require specific formatting based on the citation style used.


    What Is a Citation?

    A citation contains important pieces of information about a primary or secondary source. These pieces of information, called elements, include items such as the name of the author, the title of an article, the title of a book or magazine, the place of publication, the publisher, and the date of publication. The citation identifies the source and enables a reader to locate it.


    What Is a Bibliography?

    Your bibliography is an alphabetized list of sources of information you used in researching and writing your paper. Each entry on the list of sources you consulted is a citation.

    Depending on which citation style you use, your bibliography may be titled by a different name such as:

    • Works Cited (a list of sources you cited in your article)
    • Annotated Bibliography (a bibliography that also contains a brief description and evaluation of each source)
    • Works Consulted (a list of all sources you used when writing your paper)
    • Selected Bibliography (a list of only your most important or heavily used sources)
    • List of References (a list of sources you cited in text)

    "Citing Sources." Issues & Controversies, Infobase, Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.

    The MLA and APA Style Guides

    Who Owns Citation Styles?

    There are two main organizations that oversee and control how citations are created in the areas of the humanities and social sciences.

    The Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA) each create a Style Guide which is a manual that dictates the rules that scholars must follow when they are inserting in-text citations, bibliographies, and formatting research papers and studies.

    • The MLA’s Style Guide ensures that all humanities scholars play by the same rules.
    • The APA’s Style Guide accomplishes the same thing, but for scholars in the fields of social science and psychology.

    Each Style Guide provides rules for peer-reviewed journals to uphold and expectations for authors to follow when they submit their research for publication.

    The Style Guides also ensure that the scholars in these fields can read and understand citations. Similar to creating universal standards with a measuring system, the style guides allows practitioners, scholars, and librarians to more effectively access information.

    The Style Guides can be checked out through the Long Beach City College Library and detailed breakdowns of sources and formatting can be accessed through the LBCC Library Research Study Guides.

    Why Cite?

    Stand on the Shoulders of Giants

    Citations are needed: To acknowledge the source of information for any ideas, quotations, or images that you used. Claiming that another person's ideas are your own or failing to acknowledge sources that you used is called plagiarism. For more information see Avoiding Plagiarism.
    To provide enough information about the source you used to help a reader easily find it.
    To show that you have gathered and used information about your topic and have conducted research.
    To protect your own original ideas and words. When you cite others' work, you make clear which ideas are yours and which came originally from other sources.

    "Citing Sources." Issues & Controversies, Infobase, Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.

    Citation Curriculum includes