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Elkins: GSTR 210 (Spring 2021)

What is a Citation?

What is a citation?

A citation gives researchers basic information about the creation of a document or work of art.

It tells you:

  • Who created it
  • What it is called
  • When it was published or created
  • Where it was published or created

Why are citations important?

  • A citation can help you find additional sources for your research.
  • A citation gives credit to the author/creator whose work you’ve used.
  • A list of citations will form your bibliography or works cited, usually required of your assignment.

Types of Citation

Journal Article:

One distinctive clue is that the title of a journal article is enclosed in quotation marks, though you cannot judge by this fact alone since titles of essays and other parts of books are enclosed in quotation marks also. The easiest way to distinguish between a citation to a book and a citation to an article in a periodical is to look at the publication data. A citation to a journal article does not contain the name and location of the publisher; instead it has the name of the periodical, a volume number, sometimes an issue number, and a date that often includes a particular month or season.

Example of a journal article citation:

Lyon, Jean-Marie, Scott Henggele, and James A. Hall. “The Family Relations, Peer Relations, and Criminal Activities of Caucasian and Hispanic-American Gang Members.” Journal of Abnormal Psychology 20 (1992): 439-449.

Book:

The easiest way to distinguish between a citation to a book and a citation to an article in a periodical is to look at the publication data. A book citation includes the place of publication, the name of the publisher, and the year of publication.

Example of a book citation:
Goldstein, Arnold P. Delinquent Gangs: a Psychological Perspective. Champaign, Ill.: Research Press, 1991.

Book Chapter:

When only part of a book is cited, the documentation may look similar to an article in a periodical. If you see a publisher's name and location, though, you know that the "article" is in a book. The inclusion of an editor, or multiple editors, is a dead giveaway. In the example shown below, you will see that an "article" (essay, chapter) called "Crime and Responsibility," written by Henry Tam, is published in the book Introducing Applied Ethics, edited by Brenda Almond and published by Blackwell, located in Cambridge, in 1995. Tam's "article" is on pages 133-155.

Example of book chapter:
Tam, Henry. "Crime and Responsibility." Introducing Applied Ethics. Ed. Brenda Almond. Cambridge: Blackwell, 1995. pp. 133-155.