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ESE 400: Introduction to Special Education

Citing Your Sources

Why are citations important? Why is it necessary to cite?

To avoid plagiarism, you must give proper credit to all sources you use! Whenever you paraphrase or directly quote information, you must cite the sources of the information using a specific citation style. One of the most commonly used citation styles is APA -- the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA). The current version of the APA Manual is the 7th edition, 2020. When using APA to cite your sources, you must have a list of References at the end of your paper and corresponding in-text citations in the body of your paper.

Please take the time to become familiar with APA style since you will use it a lot in your courses! There are many RULES to follow when citing sources in APA style, such as order of the elements, capitalization, punctuation, and italics.


  • If you do not have access to the paper APA Manual, then refer to the Citation Guides page on the Library's Virtual Reference Desk. It contains links to websites to help you format your citations. A good starting point is the Purdue OWL site. 
  • The Purdue OWL is an excellent website for learning about APA Citation Style. Once you access the website, explore the links to the left, including In-Text Citations: The Basics and Reference List: Basic Rules. Review the many examples for citing different formats in APA style and the rules pertaining to Authors as well.
  • The APA citing help inside a research database is a good starting point, but ALWAYS check the references because the formatting is NOT 100% correct.
  • You can use free citation generators like Citation Machine or EasyBib to format citations, but they are not perfect, either! Double check your work! 
  • Use the References tab in Microsoft Word to insert citations and manage your sources. You can generate a reference list and insert in-text citations in your paper from this References tab. Make sure to check your citations for accuracy!
  • Use Mendeley or Zotero, which are free, web-based tools "to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources." See the Mendeley Research Guide and/or the Zotero Research Guide for more information. Mendeley and Zotero are powerful reference management tools, but errors still can occur. Remember that you are responsible for the accuracy of your citations. Make sure to proofread before submitting your work.

Writing Help

If you need help with the writing process (including properly citing sources), then make an appointment with CSU's Writing Center, which is located on the 1st floor of the Michael Schwartz Library.

APA Manual (Paper Version)

The Michael Schwartz Library has copies of the APA Manual available for review.