First, find out which style your professor wants you to use. You don’t want to miss a piece of information and have to go back and find it all – this is so time-consuming. We have short guides online and in the library to help with formatting your citations.
While you research, make sure to record the information listed below – all citation styles use the same basic information, they just might change the order around, or which words are capitalized, and punctuation. Writing down these details as you go will save you HEAPS of time at the end of your paper [Nothing is more frustrating than tracking down your citations after you’ve written your paper.]
For all resource types you’ll need:
- Year of publication
For books, you’ll also need:
- Place of publication (city name)
- Edition number, if applicable
- Editor(s) name(s), if applicable
For journal articles, you’ll also need:
- Journal title
- Volume number
- Issue number
- Page numbers
For websites you’ll also need:
- Website title (along with the webpage title you recorded above)
- The date you accessed or looked at the webpage
- The URL
You might need additional information if you’re citing a special kind of book or journal, but the above details will get you started. I’ll include some example of finished citations below, although you’ve likely seen them before:
Solzhenitsyn, A. (2005). One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich. New York: Bantam Deli.
Kernis, M. H., Cornell, D., Sun, C.R., Berry, A., & Harlow, T. (1993). There’s more to self-esteem than whether it is high or low: The importance of stability of self-esteem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 1190-1204.
There are products that help with organizing your citations (called citation management software), but my advice is to use whatever systems feels most comfortable. I used to keep a print copy of everything, with the citation written along the top; a friend of mine would create an excel spreadsheet.
Feel free to bring in your citation questions to the library desk!