Citing your sources shows that you’ve done research to become knowledgeable about your topic and helps you avoid plagiarism. Proper citations allow your readers to track down your sources and help them understand how your research is connected to the work of others in your field. With all the many ways that you can plagiarize someone’s work, either accidentally or on purpose, how can you make sure that you’re citing your sources correctly every time? One way is to become familiar with reputable sources that will help you learn or confirm that how you are citing your source is correct.

Plagiarism means taking someone else’s work or ideas and trying to pass them off as your own. Plagiarism can either be intentional or unintentional, and even the most careful writer could accidentally plagiarize without fully knowing it. For example, did you know that it is plagiarism even if you misattribute a quote to the wrong author? Even if you cited the source and took care to put it in your bibliography, if the wrong person received credit for someone else’s work, it can still be considered plagiarism. Other forms of plagiarism include:

  • Copying and pasting someone else’s work and turning it in as your own
  • Using a quote from someone without giving them credit
  • Not putting a quotation in quotation marks
  • Changing a few words here and there, but keeping the main ideas of a sentence without giving credit to the original author
  • Copying pictures from Google or another website to use without saying where you found the image

Of course, all scenarios of potential plagiarism can be avoided by knowing how to properly cite your sources.

Get Citation Help

If you need additional help with citing sources after reviewing these resources, schedule an appointment with a Writing Center consultant. 

Writing Center Citation Guides

The Writing Center has guides for various citation styles:


Zotero is an open-source citation manager software that helps users generate in-text citations and bibliographies directly in a word processor. Zotero functions as a computer application with add-ons, helping users build a library of sources and then use them to create citations. The software is compatible with GriffinSearch and other library databases, allowing you to save citations and articles while you research.


Video tutorials from Giovale Library are available to assist you in using Zotero. For further support and information, refer to Zotero's support resources.

To install the software on a computer, visit Zotero’s website. An installation and operation video tutorial is available with steps showing how to install and operate Zotero on your computer.

There are many ways to add sources to a Zotero library, the easiest being Zotero Connector. A video tutorial on adding sources is available with steps showing how to add sources to your Zotero library.

Organizing sources makes it easier to find a source and create a citation. A video tutorial on organizing sources is available with steps showing how to use Zotero’s built-in tools for organizing sources.

Zotero generates correctly formatted in-text and bibliographic citations in hundreds of different styles and, at any time, users can change the citation style at. A creating citations and bibliographies video tutorial is available with steps showing how to create citations and bibliographies in your Zotero library.

Group libraries allow users to remotely collaborate with other project members. A video tutorial on collaborating is available with steps showing how to set up a new group library, add new items to the library, and add new group members.

Purdue OWL

Purdue OWL provides:

  • Writing guides
  • Grammatical rules
  • Citation help including detailed formatting guides for the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) citation styles
  • Examples for using sources in footnotes/endnotes, in-text citations, and reference lists

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Citation Resource

Visit the ACM Citation Style and Reference Formats guide for help citing sources in the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) citation style.