Importance of citing sources

Citing sources in an academic paper signals to the reader that you have researched what has already been talked about a topic before offering your own perspective. Citing places a writer's scholarship in context with the greater scholarly conversation. Not only do citations provide context for your work, but they also lend credibility to your claims.

Citing sources is a necessary step in order to avoid plagiarism. MVCC, like other academic institutions, has an Academic Integrity Policy that all students are required to follow. The consequences of Academic Dishonesty, whether it's intentional or accidental, can lead to receiving a zero on the assignment and possibly harsher penalties imposed by the department's Dean.


 MLA citation style is most commonly used in English classes and other humanities and liberal arts classes. The following resources should help you understand the general format for MLA styled papers, and how to create in-text citations and Works Cited page entries.

Sample MLA paper from Purdue OWL

MLA Citation Guide: This guide gives a template of citations for a variety of sources and gives examples of each type of source. Paper formatting and in-text citations are also discussed.

MLA paper formatting video


APA style is used most often in Social Sciences, such as Criminal Justice, Psychology, and Human Services. Formatting in APA papers differs from MLA style in that APA includes a cover page and running header. See the resources below for help creating citations and formatting a paper correctly in APA style.

 Sample APA paper

APA Citation Guide: Everything you ever wanted to know about APA style including reference page entry templates and samples, in-text citation rules, and step-by-step formatting guidelines.

APA Formatting Video (4 mins.)
APA running head guide

Chicago Style

 At MVCC, the Notes-Bibliography Chicago citation style is most often used in History classes (although not all History professors require this particular citation style).  Consult the assignment requirements or ask your professor which citation style they prefer.

Chicago style sample paper

Chicago Style Citation Guide 

Chicago sample citations