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What is a Citation?: Home

This guide will identify the basic elements of a citation for a book and journal article.

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Basic Citation Information

Citations are found in bibliographies and indexes, usually from one of the library's databases. A citation identifies a book, periodical article, or other information resource. A citation will include the basic pieces of information necessary to allow you to find the article. That same information is used to create the list of references, or bibliography you will put in your research paper. Your instructor can then use the citations in the bibliography of your paper to identify and locate those same articles.

A single citation is sometimes called a "reference." A list of citations is generally known as a "bibliography," although sometimes the list is called simply a "works cited" page or "list of references."

When you place citations in your research paper, they must be written in a correct format by following the style manual of a particular discipline. The two most used citation styles at Victoria College and the University of Houston-Victoria are the APA (American Psychological Association) style and the MLA (Modern Language Association) style. Be sure to follow the style manual recommended by your instructor.

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