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Procurement & Acquisitions Management @ Webster University Libraries

What are citations and why should you use them?

Citations are a way to tell your reader that some ideas in your paper, project, or presentation were borrowed from another source. Each citation should:

  • Give credit to the original text creator that you quote directly or ideas that you paraphrase or summarize in your paper
  • Give your reader complete information so they can find and read the original source for themselves
  • Provide outside research to support your ideas and help your reader to determine which ideas you borrowed from another source and which are your own
  • Help you to avoid plagiarism
  • Follow a specific pattern based on a citation style, e.g., APA, Chicago/Turabian, MLA, etc.

APA citation help from Webster U Library


Print manuals

Citation-style guides (APA, Chicago, MLA)

When in doubt, ask your instructor which citation style to use for your paper or project. Some of the most widely used citation styles include:

Want to build your own database of references and research as you collect them?  View the Mendeley research guide

How do I cite articles from the library's databases?

When you cite a full text article retrieved from a Webster University Libraries database, some citation styles require you to cite the database name and/or a URL. Here’s how the University's most-used citation styles address this issue:

  • APA (7th): Include only the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) if it is available. If there is no DOI listed in the database or on the article itself, do not include any database information or a URL.
  • MLA (9th), Chicago, AMA, Harvard: If a DOI is present, add both it and the database name to the citation. If a DOI is not present, include the database name and provide the database permalink or URL (if there is no permalink).

Be sure to check the citation guide for how to format the citation required for your assignment.

Managing your citations

There are a number of software programs available that help students store references and notes, create bibliographies, etc. While not needed for every assignment, they are useful for when you are gathering a large number of articles and other resources for projects such as capstone papers, theses, and dissertations. Some of the main citation management software applications are listed here.

Webster University's Writing Center

Whether you are an experienced academic writer or this is your first paper, Webster University's Writing Center offers writing support for students. Find help with all kinds of research projects, including "reports; résumés and cover letters; admission essays and personal statements; summaries, critical analyses, and literature reviews; research and term papers; theses and dissertations; and more." Writing Center coaches are available at all stages of the writing process from brainstorming to draft revision and everything in-between.

Visit Writing Support to: 

  • Schedule an appointment with a writing coach
  • Submit a paper online to the Writing Center for review
  • Select Writing Resources to find help with citation, grammar, avoiding plagiarism, and more

Academic integrity and plagiarism information

Using websites, blogs and social media responsibly

The advantage of using library databases is that the articles and reports are generally from well-recognized business publishers. However, many government agencies and industry associations employ experts and distribute valuable information on the Web.  And, checking a company's website for their annual report (if a public company), their mission statement and their product marketing can help you to get a sense of their corporate culture.  Before you use any information, but especially from the Internet, ask yourself "Is it C R A A P?"

CRAAP test

The CRAAP acronym was coined by Sarah Blakeslee at Meriam Library at California State University.