Skip to main content

SAGE Research Methods: Citation Information

Quotation and Paraphrasing

When you reproduce an author's exact wording and phrasing, you must place the text within quotation marks or set off the text in block quotes or other formats recommended in various style manuals. Even if you re-word the material in your own terms, a practice called "paraphrasing," you must credit the source of the information.

You can find guidelines for quotation practice in many style manuals or guides for researchers. A useful introduction can be found in chapter 12 of The Modern Researcher by Jacques Barzun and Henry Graff (5th ed., 1992).


Plagiarism is defined as "offering as one’s own work the words, ideas, or arguments of another person without appropriate attribution by quotation, reference or footnote.”

The consequences of plagiarizing another's work can be very serious for one's course grade or for one's entire academic career. Plagiarism and academic dishonesty go beyond simply cutting and pasting text from an article or book into your paper without attribution; they can include paraphrasing without attribution or even citing sources that you have not consulted in your Works Cited list.

Citing your sources is the first step to avoiding plagiarism.


For further information see our library guide on Preventing and Detecting Plagiarism

Citation Helpers

A number of library databases including SAGE Research Methods offer "Cite" tools that will automatically format a citation for you in a number of styles. These tools can be helpful if you have just a few items to cite in your paper.

Look for buttons or links like these to help generate your citation:

We encourage you to double-check these computer-generated citations against your style manual.


Wonder how to use DOIs for your research? 

Watch this short video by Kansas State University Librarian Sara K. Kearns to find out!


What is a Citation?

A citation (or reference) is a short, multi-part description of a source. A good citation will lead the reader to the source of the writer's information. See this video on How to Read a Citation for assistance in understanding the parts of a citation.


Why Cite?

When you use other authors' ideas and words in your own writing, it is important to credit them - even if you do not quote their words exactly as written. Citing your sources allows your reader to identify the works you have consulted and to understand the breadth and scope of your research. Footnotes, endnotes, and lists of works consulted provide substantiation for your own findings and ideas.

Practicing "cite as you write" and keeping track of ideas and quotations that you use in your own writing helps you to avoid plagiarism or charges of research misconduct.


Citation Styles

There are hundreds of citation styles. The library guides below provide information on the most popular styles:


·         MLA Style

·         APA Style

·         Chicago Manual Style


Citation Managers

Citation managers are software programs or browser tools that allow you to collect and organize citations to books, articles, or other materials that you have used in your research. These tools make it easy to "cite while you write" by allowing you to insert citations into your writing in hundreds--even thousands--of different styles.  



EndNote Basic/Web is another web-based bibliography manager that some university libraries provide for the entire campus. EndNote Web allows you to save citations to a personal database and then format those citations in footnotes, endnotes, or bibliographies. Once you create your own personal EndNote Web account, you can access your database of citations from any computer, anywhere with an Internet connection. You can easily import citations from dozens of different library databases. Your citations can then be exported directly into your paper in dozens of different citation styles.


Zotero is a Firefox add-on that collects, manages, and cites research sources. It's easy to use and open source (free!). A new standalone version also works with Google Chrome or Safari. Zotero allows you to attach PDFs, notes and images to your citations, organize them into collections for different projects, and create bibliographies. Although Zotero itself is free, you may find that you need to pay for additional cloud storage if you save a lot of PDFs to your Zotero library. Prices start at $20 a year for up to a Gigabyte of online storage.

EasyBib is a web based citation generator.  You need to sign up for a free account to access the full version available to LIU students, staff, and faculty.  Provides note taking features, citation guides, and the ability to save citations in a "My Project" folder.