Citing sources refers to the process of documenting the sources you use so that others can find them. Most research builds on research that has come before, so as you cite sources, you allow others to see the research that has contributed to your project.
For an explanation of the text below, see the video tutorial Citing Sources in MLA Style (5:29)
Although there are different citation formatting styles (e.g., MLA, APA, Chicago), most require you to cite your work in two places in a research paper.
First part in the body of the paper: At the place in your paper where you refer to the information from another source, you will need to place a reference to the source. For MLA or APA, this may be a shortparenthetical citation, so-called because you need to put brief information (such as the author's name and page number with MLA style) in parentheses. For some styles, you may need to place a reference to a footnote or endnote.
Second part at the end of the paper: At the end of your paper, you should place the full source information in a list of works that may be called the References, Works Cited, or Bibliography. For this list, follow the formatting guidelines of your specific style.
Example: Transferring Information from Research Sources to Your Paper (MLA Style)