MLA8 – APA – Chicago…

The information on this page is designed to help you with the basic expectations for citing and referencing using MLA8, APA or Chicago referencing sytles. Your teachers will tell you which style is appropriate for each subject and task.

The resources toward the end of the page are recommended to help you further research and understand more complex uses for each of the different styles.

Why are citations important?

According to the IB, “Proper citation is a key element in academic scholarship and intellectual exchange. When we cite we:

  • show respect for the work of others
  • help a reader to distinguish our work from the work of others who have contributed to our work
  • give the reader the opportunity to check the validity of our use of other people’s work
  • give the reader the opportunity to follow up our references, out of interest
  • show and receive proper credit for our research process
  • demonstrate that we are able to use reliable sources and critically assess them to support our work
  • establish the credibility and authority of our knowledge and ideas
  • demonstrate that we are able to draw our own conclusions
  • share the blame (if we get it wrong)” (“Effective Citing and Referencing.”, 2)

How to avoid plagiarism.

Quoting, paraphrasing and Summarizing are three main ways to fairly and honestly include, integrate and refer to others’ work within your own. In other words – great ways to avoid plagerism!


Quoting is reproducing an author’s words from a source – the exact wording, spelling, punctuation etc. This adds amphasis and weight to an argument.

To correctly integrate a quote you should:

  • Use a signal phrase to indicate that a quote is being used. For example:
    • According to Jones…
  • Providing commentary or further exploring the quote.
  • Include quotation marks.
  • Cite and Reference it in the appropriate style.


Paraphrasing is incorporating ideas from another source using your own words. This enables you to demonstrate your understanding and interpretation of the original idea in relation to your topic.

To correctly paraphrase you should:

  • Rewrite, reorder, use rephrase and underline key points from the original source
  • Use a signal phrase to indicate you have incorporated work from another source. For example:
    • Jones states … As indicated by Jones…
  • Cite and Reference in the appropriate style.


Summerizing is expressing the main ideas and concepts from another source, without including details. Summaries are short and concise.

To correctly summarize you should:

  • Use signal phrases to remind the reader that you are refering to someone else’s work. For example:
    • Jones states… Jones further indicates…
  • Cite and Reference in the appropriate style.

Citing and Referencing – what you need to include

Citing should be done whenever you borrow words or ideas, use quotes, paraphrase, make specific reference to another person’s ideas, or when someone else’s work has influenced or helped you to develop your own ideas.

Any source that you cite in your work must be fully referenced in the Reference List at the end of your paper.

Each style of citing has it’s own rules for in-text citations, however there are certain pieces of information you will need to include in your citations and references:

  • Author’s name – always double check the spelling
  • The title of the article, journal, book, database, website etc, including volume or issue numbers
  • The publisher’s details
  • Publication date or the latest update information
  • For websites you will also need to include the date you lasted accessed the site and the URL

We HIGHLY recommend that you use a Resource tracker like this one to collect the relevant infomration as you find it.



MLA8 generally uses the (author, page) format for in-text citations; especially for books, magazines or PDFs with set page numbers. This means that you include the author’s surname followed by the page number in parentheses at the end of your quote, paraphrase or summary. For example:

“Shakespeare could not have chosen a more propitious time to come of age.”(Bryson, 101)

According to Bryson, Shakespeare came into his strength at the best possible time. (101)

If you are citing a digital resource such as a website which does not include page numbers, you do not need to include any parentheses if you reference the first item that appears in the Reference List as part of your signal phrase. If you do not reference the first item as part of your signal phrase, you will then include that first item in parentheses at the end of your quote, paraphrase or summary. The first item could be the author, article title, website name or film name. No page numbers are needed. For example:

According to “William Shakespeare Biography”, “Shakespeare’s works include 38 plays, 2 narrative poems, 154 sonnets, and a variety of other poems.”

No original manuscripts of Shakespeare’s plays are known to exist today.” (“William Shakespeare Biography”)



Citing images





These websites will help guide you through the more complex issues involved with creating your own citations and references:

Purdue Owl - Writing Lab

The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue. Students, members of the community, and users worldwide will find information to assist with many writing projects. Teachers and trainers may use this material for in-class and out-of-class instruction.

MLA Style Center

The MLA Style Center is the only authorized website on MLA style. A companion to the MLA Handbook, the site provides students and educators with a host of free resources for teaching and learning the MLA’s approach to research, writing, and documentation. 

APA Style

Style guidelines encourage authors to fully disclose essential information and allow readers to dispense with minor distractions, such as inconsistencies or omissions in punctuation, capitalization, in-text citations, references, and presentation of statistics.

When style works best, ideas flow logically, sources are credited appropriately, and papers are organized predictably and consistently. People are described using language that affirms their worth and dignity. Authors plan for ethical compliance and report critical details of their research protocol to allow readers to evaluate findings and other researchers to potentially replicate the studies. Tables and figures present data in an engaging, consistent manner.

Chicago Manual of Style - Citation Guide

The notes and bibliography system is preferred by many working in the humanities—including literature, history, and the arts. In this system, sources are cited in numbered footnotes or endnotes. Each note corresponds to a raised (superscript) number in the text. Sources are also usually listed in a separate bibliography. The notes and bibliography system can accommodate a wide variety of sources, including unusual ones that don’t fit neatly into the author-date system.

Effective Citing and Referencing

This document provides guidance on referencing and demonstrates some of the differences between the most widely used styles. Due to the wide range of subjects, multiple response languages and the diversity of referencing styles, the IB does not prescribe or insist on a particular style. All examples provided in this document are for illustration purposes only. The IB’s requirements are for honesty in indicating when and which ideas and words are not the writer’s own, and consistency in referencing the source of those ideas and words.

Online Referencing Tools

These are just some of the many open access online tools that will help you to cite, reference and organize your sources.

For more information or if you have questions, see your teacher-librarian!