Why cite your sources?

Have you ever read an article and wondered where the author found their information?

Citing sources is how readers verify the information in an article. This information enables someone else to find and read the item (article, data, report) that you used.

Citations also benefit the writer: Every citation can be considered an expert conscripted into supporting your arguments. Without that chorus behind you, your work will sound hollow.

Many students are confused or nervous about how to cite sources and avoid plagiarism. However a few simple rules can help you to avoid plagiarism. Take a look at these links and this video below (courtesy of Bainbridge State College) for information about plagiarism.

Citation Basics

All citations should have three key identifiers: author, title, and year. Additional information such as the name of the publication, the name of the database and a stable URL or DOI are helpful.

The American Psychological Association (APA) style guide or IEEE are commonly used citation styles in Engineering. 

APA Citations

The American Psychological Association (APA) style guide is commonly used in business writing. The tools listed below provide examples on how to cite common sources like newspaper articles, journal articles, and books.

Cite twice! Once in the text of your writing and another in a list of references at the end of your work.

In text citation example:

Llamas affinity for peppermint lollipops as opposed to cinnamon is well documented (Perkins & Fowler, 1985).


According to Perkins and Fowler (1985), llamas prefer peppermint lollipops over cinnamon at a rate of 5 to 1.

Reference list example:

Perkins, Ml & Fowler, J. (1985). Sweet Teeth: Llamas Confectionery Preferences and Implications for Veterinary Dental Practices. Camelidae Quarterly, 43(2), 19-27. http://www.wildkingdom.com/newseries 

Sources for Additional Examples:

IEEE Citations

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) style guide is commonly used in engineering publications. The resources and examples listed below provide examples on how to cite commons sources.

In text citations

Direct quote:

Azevedo et al. have noted, "Climate change is not the only concern moving lighting onto policy agendas" [1, p. 481].


Azevedo et al. [1, p. 481] have noted, "Climate change is not the only concern moving lighting onto policy agendas."

Longer direct quote:

If a quotation is 40 words or more, omit quotation marks and use a block format in which the quotation is indented about ½ inch (or 5 spaces) from both margins. Cite the source at the end of the block quote, after the final punctuation mark.

Reference list example

[1] I. L. Azevedo, M. G. Morgan and F. Morgan, "The Transition to Solid-State Lighting," in Proceedings of the IEEE, vol. 97, no. 3, pp. 481-510, March 2009, doi: 10.1109/JPROC.2009.2013058.