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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Primary Source Guide

Citation Guides

Why Cite Sources?

See more Kimbel Library instruction videos here:

Why Cite Sources?

Providing information about where sources were found and how they were accessed is an essential part of research. These citations:

  • Give credit to the creators of the information you use (whether you quote them or not)
  • Allows others to locate the materials you consulted, gives evidence of your research process
  • Helps you avoid plagiarizing

Citations include a basic set of elements that describe your source --  author, title of document, title of the book or website, name of editor or author of the book, year of publication, and page numbers. Different style formats (most commonly Chicago, MLA and APA) dictate how this information should be arranged, making it easier for readers to decode it later.

Managing Sources