Why Cite the Source?
In any research assignment, students need to learn the essential skill of how to cite the source. They must list where they found the information. Cite sources to:
- acknowledge the original author
- allow others to look up additional details
- avoid plagiarism by giving credit to the work of others
- show readers that there is trustworthy and credible data on the subject
A citation should include as much information as possible including author’s name, date published, web page title or publisher, and the web address.
There are many citation styles used to format the source. The most popular are APA and MLA. Each style has rules about where to put the information and type of punctuation to use. It can get confusing because the style rules change.
Not all web pages will list the information or put it in the same place. Students will often need to use their detective skills to find all the details.
Tips for finding the date on a web page:
- Search for date written or date updated at the top or bottom of the article.
- Look for a copyright date at the bottom of a web page.
- You may not find month or day. Leave out the information not listed.
Tips for finding the author on a web page:
- The author might be a person or an organization.
- Look for a logo as it may show the organization name.
- Refer to the bottom of the web page to see if there is contact information.
Sample Citations using APA Style
Web Page Article with Author
Author, A. (Year, Month Day) Article Title. Retrieved from http://www.website.com/article/
Web Page with No Author
Article Title. (Year, Month Day). Retrieved from http://www.noauthor.com/article/
Web Page with No Date
Author, A. (n.d.) Article Title. Retrieved from http://www.websitenodate.com/article/
Web Page that May Change or Move
Author, A. (Year, Month Day). Article Title. Retrieved Month Day, Year, from http://www.websitechange.com/article/
Use an Online Citation Maker
In a previous post, I expressed regret over Google’s decision to remove the cite function in the new Explore Tool in G Suite. Until this useful feature returns or if you are using other apps, try an online citation generator as a great alternative. To use one, you select the resource type and enter in the URL. Using an online form, missing information is then manually entered. With the click of one button, the citation is created. Try it!