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Citation Help: Overview

Getting Started with Citations

Citations are a necessary component of a research paper. Scenarios that need a citation:

  • Direct quotations
  • Original ideas or arguments
  • Statistics or original research
  • Opinions or claims made by others
  • Images or artwork
  • Data/datasets

You do NOT need to cite:

  • Common knowledge, which includes commonly accepted facts, common sense, myths, and historical events (but not historical documents)
  • Your own words or ideas unless published in a previous work

Elements of a Citation

Citations commonly include the same identifiers: 

  • Author(s)
  • Title of work(s)
  • Date of Publication
  • Publisher
  • Volume and Issue Numbers (articles)
  • Page Number(s)
  • URL or DOI (see box on this page)

These identifiers allow fellow researchers to find and access materials efficiently. Please see the specific pages in this guide that correspond to the style required by your professor for more information. 

What Is a DOI?

A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is an alphanumeric string that provides a persistent link to content online. It is good practice to try to include a DOI for every citation accessed electronically. APA, MLA, and Chicago Style all recommend including the DOI in your citation.