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Research Process: Citing Sources


At Windsor Secondary,  MLA is used for English, Modern Languages, and FRAL and APA is used for Social Studies, Sciences Humaines and Science courses. However, the decision to use a particular style guide is up to each individual instructor, so please check with them before you begin. 

Why Bother to Cite Your Sources?

Citing the sources you use when writing any paper is all about giving credit where credit is due. Using the words and ideas of other people without giving them credit is plagiarism and is considered academic misconduct. Students who are caught plagiarizing will face disciplinary consequences according to their institution's policies.

Learning to cite your sources isn't just about avoiding consequences, it's about developing adacemic integrity, a quality that will benefit you in every aspect of your education.


Is your source credible?  Don’t forget to consider these factors. Think TRAAP!
Timeliness : Currency of the information
  • When was the information published? When was it last updated? Does it reflect the most current information available?
  • How does your topic fit in with this source’s publication date? Do you need current information to make your point or do older sources work better?
Relevance : Importance of the information to your topic
  • Does the information relate to your topic, or answer the question you have presented?
  • Who is the intended audience of the work? Does that audience match with yours?
  • Have you looked at other sources related to this one? Does it seem there are many others on the topic?
  • Are you utilizing the entire source, or just a part of it?
Authority - Source of the information
  • Who is the author? What are their credentials or qualifications?
  • What makes the author qualified to write on this topic?
  • Is there clearly defined contact information for the author?
  • Who is the publisher? Is it a non-profit, government agency, or organization? How might this affect their point of view?
  • What makes the publisher qualified to generate works on this subject?
  • What can the URL tell you about the publisher? For instance, .gov may signify that it is a government agency.
Accuracy : Reliability and truthfulness of the content
  • Where does the information come from?
  • Can the information presented be verified? Is it supported by evidence that is clearly cited?
  • Does the language used seem free of emotion, and does the work seem impartial and objective?
  • Are there any spelling or grammatical errors? If an online source, are all links working?
  • If it was reproduced, who edited/reproduced it? Where was the information originally published?
  • How original are the ideas presented in the work? Do they seem to be common knowledge?
Purpose : Reason the source exists
  • Is the point of the information to inform, persuade, teach, or sell?
  • Do the authors/publishers make their intentions clear?
  • Does the information appear to be fact or opinion?
  • Does the point of view seem impartial? Do they identify counter-arguments?

You Quote It You Note It!

APA Links

In-Text Referencing APA Style

Below are THREE examples of APA in-text referencing for quotes. The format used depends on how you are using the quote in your writing.

Paraphrasing also requires an in-text citation if you are summarizing another's words into your own.

1. Murphy (2012, p. 119) stated that 'there is a book out there for everyone'.

2. 'I believe that there is a book out there for everyone' (Murphy 2012, p. 119).

3. Murphy was a firm believer that there was a book for everyone (Murphy 2012, p. 119).

Click here  for further online writing style guides for OWL Purdue

MLA Links

In-Text Referencing MLA Style

Below are two examples of MLA style in-text referencing for quotes. The format used depends on how you are using the quote in your writing.

Murphy stated that "there is a book out there for everyone" (119).


"I believe that there is a book out there for everyone" (Murphy 119).

The "Quote Sandwich"

Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography consists of a concise annotation that summarizes the central theme and scope of the book or article. It can include one or more sentences that (a) evaluate the authority or background of the author, (b) comment on the intended audience, (c) compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, or (d) explain how this work illuminates your bibliography topic.

SFU Online Plagiarism Tutorial Canvas

"One important difference between academic writing and other genres of writing is the importance of indicating the sources where words and ideas were borrowed from. No one expects a poet to footnote a poem to indicate where they found the words and metaphors. In fact, part of the enjoyment of 'decoding' a poem is figuring out what the poet is alluding to.

But in academic writing it is vital that the writer clearly identifies the source of words and ideas. In the culture of academic writing, originality is paramount -- in other words, is that your own idea, or is it an idea you found somewhere else? Identifying sources is so important in the culture of academic writing that to not identify your sources is considered a 'crime': the crime of plagiarism."  - From Introduction: Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism


Citing is Important: Ask Amanda!


Online bibliographic tools are only TOOLS - they help to organize and keep track of your sources.

However, they are NOT always correct and you must be sure to proofread your list of sources and ensure that you are following the correct citation format.

Below are links to sites that provide template samples you can use to proofread effectively.

Windsor's Plagiarism Policy

Check out pages 11-12 in your Windsor Agenda books for Windsor's policies regarding Academic Dishonesty

Copyright Infringement Awareness

**NOTICE how many things have been copied!