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Communications & Writing Research Guide

This guide is intended to help students in all levels of writing and communications classes - whether you are new to doing research at Bentley or need a refresher!

Introduction to Citing Sources

Introduction to Citing Sources (Watch Time: 3 minutes 13 seconds)

In this tutorial, we will provide an introduction to citing sources. We will cover why citing sources is important and what you need to do to cite a source properly.

Citation Help

Citing the sources you find is a necessary part of the research process and can be intimidating depending on your familiarity with whichever citation style your professor requires. Some questions you may have might be:

How do I know which citation style to use?

The best way to know for sure is to ask your professor which citation style they would prefer you use on assignments if it is not stated in the syllabus or in the assignment description.

I need help citing. Where can I get help?

For specific help resources for each citation style, see the tab for the appropriate style you are using. We also have a research guide with a more comprehensive list of sources:

Reference Librarians can help with questions. The Writing Center can also help:

The authoritative source for APA style is the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (currently in its 7th edition). APA is commonly used in the social sciences to cite sources.

There are a number of online sources to help provide examples of how to cite sources in APA style that are especially helpful when citing uncommon sources:

If you're citing business sources, you'll definitely want to check out our research guide!

MLA style is currently in its 9th edition as of Summer 2021. A print edition of the style guide is available at the Bentley Library Reference Desk.

There are also a number of online resources to help with citing sources and formatting papers in MLA format:

The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.) is the most recent edition of Chicago Style. Within the Chicago style, there are two versions with slight differences - one that uses notes ("Notes and Bibliography") and one that uses in-text parenthetical references ("Author-Date";). Be sure to follow the guidelines for the particular in-text citation style you are using.


Turabian Style is primarily based on Chicago Manual of Style, though meant for class or unpublished academic work rather than published work. Here are some resources to assist if you are using Turabian:

If you will be doing a lot of research and collecting a number of resources, you will need to keep track of the information you are finding. There are various tools that you can work with to manage the citations and other information you will be collecting.

EndNote is a citation management tool provided by the library where you can store the citations to resources you collect during your research. EndNote software must be downloaded to your computer. Contact the Reference Desk for details.

The EndNote Research Guide provides some basic guidance in using EndNote as well as links to various tutorials.

Locating Citation Information

No matter which citation style you use, the first step to crediting your sources is locating the citation information. Regardless of the information format, all citations will include a minimum of title of the work, author or authors, and date of publication. Below are examples from books, ebooks, articles from databases, and academic journal articles that illustrate where to find the identifying citation information.

Book / ebook Title Page

When examining a book, the basic citation information will usually be found on the book's title page. Generally this page will identify the book's title, author(s), and publishing company. All of these components are essential to creating a citation. Here's what to look for on the title page:


Title - Full title and subtitles

Edition - books that have been revised or expanded more than once will often have an edition number

Author(s) or Editor(s) - may include one or more authors or editors of the book

Publisher - the company that published the book

Publishing City - if there are multiple cities, cite the first city listed

Book / ebook Copyright Page

The page immediately following the title page is often called the copyright page. This is where you find the remaining copyright information for the book. Here is where the publication or copyright date is typically printed. Occasionally you will find a book that has been reprinted. In those cases, use the most recent copyright or publishing date, as that is the version of the book you are currently studying. The copyright page also usually identifies the publishing city, though it may also be found on the title page...or sometimes on both.


Copyright / Publication Year - if there are multiple dates, choose the most recent

Publisher - the company that published the book

Edition - books that have been revised or expanded more than once will often have an edition number

Academic Journal Article

Academic journal articles' citations differ from book sources, and thus require you to identify a few unique pieces of information, such as volume and issue numbers.

Title - Full title and subtitles

Author(s) - may include one or more authors of the article

Page Number - cite the entire page range in which the article appears

Publication - name of the journal the article was published in

Volume / Issue Number - identifies the exact edition of the journal where the article appears

Publication Date - date formats vary; use the format the journal provides or the citation style requires

Database Articles

Databases may vary in how they present article information. It is important to note what citation information is readily available and what you may have to seek out to complete a citation.