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Citation & Documentation

Citation and Documentation

Students often feel that documenting and citing the sources they use for research is a difficult process.  However, it is actually pretty straightforward if you take your time, use the correct examples, and ask for help when you need it. This guide from the DSC Writing Center and Library provides some basic examples of how to correctly cite materials using the most common documentation styles used at Daytona State College.  There is also a section on how to avoid plagiarism, including information on quoting and paraphrasing.  If you still find the process confusing, the Daytona State College Writing Center is a wonderful source for one-on-one writing assistance.

You might be tempted to use a citation generator or machine website. All these websites do is scan the page and incorrectly pull random names, dates, and titles.  Not only are these sites often incorrect with no context, but they will hurt your research and critical thinking skills in the future. These generators will also not tell you if you have a credible or accurate source at all.


"What is the difference between documentation, citation, and reference?

There is considerable overlap in how people use terms like document, cite, reference, quote, and the like. For the sake of consistency here, we will define these terms as follows:

  • Documentation is the general practice of acknowledging sources by clearly indicating what you have borrowed and giving the proper bibliographic information for each source.
  • A citation occurs when you use a specific source in your work and then follow up with the proper bibliographic information; plagiarism issues arise when you use a specific source, but fail to indicate what you have borrowed, and/or fail to provide proper bibliographic information
  • A reference is the bibliographic information that guides readers to your source.

 From "Recognizing and Avoiding Plagiarism", Cornell University College of Arts and Sciences, 2005.


There are quite a few different ways to cite resources in your paper. The citation style usually depends on the academic discipline involved.
For example:
  • MLA style is typically used by the Humanities
  • APA style is often used by Education, Psychology, and Business.
  • Chicago/Turabian is generally used by History and some of the Fine Arts

Check with your professor to make sure you use the required style. And whatever style you choose, BE CONSISTENT!


If you would like to find more information on the web, the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue is the most well-known site for information on this topic.