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Citation Styles Guide: FAQs

What kind of things do I need to cite?

You need to cite not only the sources of direct quotations, but also the sources of any ideas or arguments that your paper or assignment mentions, summarizes, or paraphrases.

What is a permalink?

When including a URL in a citation of an online source, you want to ensure that future readers will be able to get to the website you reference using the URL you provide. A persistent or permanent link (permalink) is a URL that is intended be accessible long into the future. In EBSCO Discovery Service, the Permalink tool will open a Permalink window from which you can copy a permanent link to that source’s information; the URL from the usual browser window is a dynamically generated URL and will not take future users to the source.

Which citation style should I use?

Each discipline (e.g. biology, education, history, literature, psychology, etc.) tends to use one or two specific styles. 

Check with your instructor to confirm which citation style they would like you to use.

What is a DOI?

A Digital Object Identifier, or DOI, is a unique identifier assigned to online documents, particularly journal articles and e-books (e.g. "10.1353/pmc.2000.0021"). The publishers of those documents are committed to ensuring that the DOIs permanently resolve to the documents online, which makes a DOI much more stable than a URL. As a result, in most citation styles—including APA, Chicago, and MLA—the inclusion of a DOI is preferable to a URL, where possible.



Do I have to create these citations manually?

Automated tools are available to help you create your citations and bibliographies, from the Cite function in EBSCO Discovery Service and other databases to online citation generators and citation management software. These tools allow you to format your citations in a variety of styles.

Remember, though, that there's no guarantee that the end result will be entirely accurate, as it depends both on the accuracy of the source information the tool receives from the databases, as well as the functionality of the tool itself. If you use an automated tool, always double-check its results against the most current version of the manuals or guides for the style you have chosen.

How do I cite a source that I found in another source?

It is preferable that you consult sources directly, as you are then able to confirm the accuracy and context of that original source. If, however, you cannot access that original source, you can cite the secondary source in which you found that information. Here are how the most common citation styles ask you to handle secondary sources.

  • APA: Only the source you consulted (and not the original source) will be in your list of references. The parenthetical in-text citation should  include the text "as cited in" to indicate you did not read the original source. For example, if you were unable to read Allport's original paper, but are citing information about it based on its being cited in a paper by Nicholson (which you did read), then you would include only the Nicholson work in your reference list, but format your parenthetical citation as follows: "(Allport, as cited in Nicholson, 2003)."
  • Chicago: In a footnote or endnote, provide the author and publication details of the original source, adding the text "quoted in" and then the author and publication details of the secondary work (the one you actually read). In the bibliography, include an entry for the original and secondary sources each, and as in the footnote/endnote, include "Quoted in" and the author and publication details of the original source in the entry for the secondary source.
  • MLA: The original source is only mentioned in the running text, while the secondary source appears parenthetically after the text "qtd. in". For example, "Samuel Johnson admitted that Edmund Burke was an 'extraordinary man' (qtd. in Boswell 450)." Only the secondary source appears in the Works Cited.

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