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Citing Sources: Citation

This guide will explain why and how to cite information.

Why do you cite?

  • To help others find the information you used
  • To build your own credibility as a well-informed creator
  • To give credit to those who created the information you used
  • It’s part of being an Aggie (see the USU Student Code)

What information should you collect?

The information you provide in your citations should answer the following three questions for your readers:

  • Who created this information?
  • Where was this information published?
  • When was this information published?

Elements of Information

To fully answer these three questions there are nine general elements of information that you should collect about each of your sources. While you should try to find as much of this information as you can, not all elements will be available or relevant to every single source.

  1. Author(s)
  2. Title of Source
  3. Title of Container (ex. The American Journal of Psychology, The Washington Post)
  4. Other Contributors (ex. edited by John Doe)
  5. Version (ex. 6th edition)
  6. Number (ex. volume or issue)
  7. Publisher (ex. MIT Press)
  8. Publication Date
  9. Location (ex. DOI)

Using Library Databases to Build Citations

Many databases and article collections, plus many e-books, will automatically create citations for whichever article or chapter you are viewing. Always proofread and double check database created citations. 

Look for a Cite, CiteNow, or Cite This Item button on the database record for the specific article or chapter. (Not all databases have this feature.)

Creating Citations in Academic Search Ultimate

  1. Click the title of an article that looks interesting.
  2. On the right side under Tools, click the Cite icon.
    cite button in ebsco
  3. In the Citation Format box scroll down to find the format you need, for example, MLA. Select the citation then copy and paste the citation into your document under References or Works Cited.




Indenting Citations

When formatting citations in your final papers you will want to create a hanging indent. An easy way to do this in Microsoft Word is to highlight the citation, right click and select "Paragraph..." then in the "Special:" drop-down menu select "Hanging."

MLA Citation Guides

Other Citation Styles

Different areas of study use different citation styles. Check out this USU Libraries Citations Research Guide for information about other citation styles.


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