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CIS 600 - Research Methods

Ethical Use of Information (ACM)

Citing sources in a paper is an essential part of using information ethically and responsibly.  Below are tutorials and links to web pages with information on citing sources and plagiarism.  Information on how to cite sources using the style format or conventions your instructor has specified-- Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) --is also provided.

ACM Links

Citing and Using Sources FAQs

Ever wonder why we have to use citations or why they have to be in a certain format? Check out our FAQs for answers!

A citation is a way to tell people that an idea, words, or picture, came from someone else. It is a way of referring to the original work; it tells your reader or audiencewhere you got that idea, words, or picture from.

citation noun. A quotation from a reference to a book paper or author especially in a scholarly work
Image from Google Dictionary

The word "reference" is often used interchangeably with citation. It means the same thing. You are being asked to refer to wherever the information came from originally.

reference definition
Image from Google Dictionary

A bibliography is a collection of citations or references, usually at the end of a work.

In Western culture, we believe that ideas belong to the creator. Their ideas may come in different forms, whether written, spoken, or visual (like a piece of art or a photo), but it's still their idea. We give credit to those individuals who created the ideas originally. If you don't give credit to who the creator, that's stealing someone else's work  and it's known as plagiarism. 

Citing is how we give credit. But besides giving proper credit and avoiding plagiarism, there's a number of reasons why a person should cite. 

  • To provide enough information that your reader can go find the original source if they wanted
  • To show your reader you've done proper research and got your material from reliable sources
  • To show professionalism in your work by following formatting standards

Just like there is a specific format to writing a resume or a letter, citations have specific formats or "styles" as well. These styles set a standard for how to cite and where to put citation information in a paper.

These styles are developed based on the need of the creators, and they usually have slightly different focuses. Some of the most popular ones include:

  • APA - From the American Psychological Associate, it's usually used for social sciences, business and nursing
  • MLA - Modern Language Association style is often used in the humanities, like art and literature
  • Chicago/Turbian - This style is often used in the humanities as well
  • ASA - America Sociological Association style is often used in sociology

There are more styles than this, and you can find out more about them on our Citations Guide.

Working with citations, but can't seem to get the hang of it? There are a lot of resources to help you out!

  • Reference Librarians - Consider stopping by the reference desk, or contacting them by phone, email or online chat if you have any reference questions. 
  • Style Guides - Memorial Library has multiple style guides that you can use for reference right here in the library!
  • OWL Purdue OnlineThis online website has a lot of informaiton about many different citation styles!
  • Center for Academic SuccessThe tutoring center in the lower level of the library is here to help you with your papers and citations!


Citation Managers

There are a number of citation mangers or applications developed to assist researchers with collecting, managing, and citing information sources. Two citation managers that are available for free and recommended by the library are Mendeley and Zotero. Click here for additional information.

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