Using Sources: Tools, Tips, and Citation Guides

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Guides to Finding, Evaluating, and Using Sources

  • The Research Process (Amherst College Library) is an in-depth tutorial on developing a research plan, including developing a research question, and finding, evaluating, and using sources in academic work. Developed by our library, it offers students a framework for approaching research using tools available at Amherst.
  • The Harvard Guide to Using Sources
  • Sources and Citations at Dartmouth explains the norms of academic integrity and ways of avoiding plagiarism while gathering and evaluating sources.
  • Using Research (Purdue): includes many smaller guides to avoiding plagiarism; how/why to paraphrase, summarize, and quote; how to use statistics effectively; and how to cite sources in multiple styles. 
  • Quoting and Paraphrasing (UW-Madison)

Tools for Citing Sources

  • Citation Machine: fill out a form, choose from MLA, Chicago, Turabian, or APA format, and it formats your citation.
  • Zotero: create a database of your citations, format them according to almost any style guide, and automatically insert them into a Word document. Frost Library offers regular introductory workshops on Zotero.

Using Case Studies

Style Guides

If you aren't sure which style to use for a particular course, always ask your professor. Even within a single department, faculty may prefer different citations styles, so it's always best to ask. Below are web guides to the major citation styles. If you need more help, consult the published guides (in Frost Library reference department or at the Writing Center).

MLA - Modern Language Association

for English and some other humanities disciplines

Chicago Manual of Style / Turabian

for humanities and some social sciences

APA - American Psychological Association

for psychology and similar social sciences

CSE - Council of Science Editors 

biology, chemistry, and other natural sciences

Legal citations based on the The Bluebook & ALWD Citation Manual
Government Documents