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Research Guides

HORT 452 - Floral Design: Wedding & Personal Flowers (Spring 2018)

University Writing Center

Using Citations

citation is a reference that allows you to acknowledge the sources* you use in a formal academic paper, and enables a reader to locate those sources through the key information it provides.

Citations are placed both in the text and in an organized list at the end of the text. The format of the citations can vary depending on the citation style that is used. If a footnote or endnote system is used, citations can be self-contained without an organized list.

*Source material might come from books, journal articles, speeches, websites, on-line articles, films, government publications, legal proceedings, maps, and so on.

It is important to cite when borrowing the ideas and thoughts of others for several reasons.

Citing sources

  • builds credibility in your work by showing you are not alone in your opinions;
  • gives you a chance to show that you have thought about and investigated your topic;
  • gives your reader the information he or she needs to verify your source or to find more information on the subject; and
  • allows you to give credit where credit is due.

Not citing your sources is academically dishonest and may lead to charges of plagiarism.

In addition, citations are integral to scholarly literature. The scholarly literature on a topic is like a huge conversation that can include many experts from around the world and across the centuries. When an individual writer credits his sources, he ties his work to the larger scholarly discourse. Because citations identify intellectual links throughout scholarly literature, they can be helpful not only when writing but also when conducting research.

Citations enable you as a researcher to

  • verify the facts and opinions set forth in a piece of writing;
  • identify additional sources that may delve more deeply into a subject;
  • distinguish the ideas of various experts regarding a specific topic;
  • measure the influence of one thinker upon another; and
  • trace the evolution of an idea as it passes from scholar to scholar, from culture to culture, and from era to era.

To Cite:    

If you quote an author, even if you are only borrowing a single key word, you must tell your reader where you found the information. Using an author’s words exactly as they appear on the page, then, is a direct quotation that always requires a citation.

You also must cite a source

  • if you restate an idea, thesis, or opinion given by an author,
  • if you restate an expert's theory or opinion,
  • if you use facts that are not common knowledge, or
  • if you need to provide an informational or explanatory note.


These restatements of an author’s words, thoughts, or ideas will take the form of either

  • a summary, or
  • a paraphrase (or indirect quotation).

Not to Cite:

  • Facts that are common knowledge do not have to be cited. For example:
    • The Republicans succeeded in winning the majority in both the House and Senate in the November elections.
    • AIDS is a disease that is managed but not cured.
  • Statistics and information that can easily be found in several sources and are not likely to vary from source to source do not have to be cited. For example, the population of the United States is 281 million.
  • Dictionary definitions that are common knowledge and vary little from source to source do not have to be cited.
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What is RefWorks?

RefWorks is a web based tool for collecting, accessing, organizing, citing, and sharing citations including articles, books, websites, and more.  

Step 1Create an account: Fill out form, selecting your own username and password

Step 2Learn the basics: Print Handout on RefWorks (includes RefGrabIt and Write N Cite) OR watch videos

Step 3. Add citations:Add from variety of sources (many are covered in handout)

  • Add from: Compendex, EBSCO, JSTOR, Lexis Nexis, Ovid, Proquest, Pubmed, ScienceDirect, Web of Science
  • Add from Articles search on Library Homepage
  • Add from Endnote, another TAMU RefWorks account, another university RefWorks account
  • Add using RefGrabIt, a tool for adding websites Pubmed articles, & more

Step 4. Managing Citations: organizing citations by folder, removing duplicates, adding PDF's, and more

Step 5. Create bibliographies: RefWorks helps you create bibliographies in 3 ways- quick list, Using Write-N-Cite in MS Word (PC or Mac), or using any word processor such as open office.

What is Endnote?

Basic. EndNote lets you store references to articles and books and to automatically cite them in one of over 5,000 citation styles such as MLA or APA. The majority of library databases allow you to export references to your EndNote library. You can also type references directly into your EndNote library. Then you can automatically add those citations in Microsoft Word, Apple Pages '09, or Writer 3. 

Intermediate. You can also link pdf's or Word documents to the references, configure EndNote to search the A&M library's subscriptions for full text of journal articles, create groups of references, and do some other customizations. 

Advanced. You can edit or create new output styles, add custom data fields to references (such as population of a study), and change what fields display in the main library window.