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A General Guide: Music Education

APA Style Manual

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. In the Education field, the most commonly used citation style is APA -- the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA). The current version of the APA Manual is the 6th edition, 2010. 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.

Cleveland State University takes plagiarism very seriously. Please see The Code of Student Conduct, which defines plagiarism as "stealing and/or using the ideas or writings of another in a paper or report and claiming them as your own. This includes but is not limited to the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment" (p. 18). Many CSU professors require their students to use a program named, which checks papers for plagiarism.

Please take the time to become familiar with APA citation 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, spacing and indents.


  • 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.
  • You can get help formatting citations inside Research Databases. The citing help inside a research database is a good starting point, but ALWAYS double-check the references because the formatting is NOT 100% correct.