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Cite Sources

These resources explain the hows and whys of citing sources in your academic work

Citation Styles and Resources

What Is Referencing/Citation?

Referencing, also called citation, is a way to acknowledge the work (e.g., information, ideas, images, computer code) of others when you use it in your assignments.

As a university student, you will be participating in ongoing scholarly conversations. By learning about the work of others and connecting it to your own, you will be adding to these conversations and contributing to the creation of new knowledge and understanding. Whenever you incorporate other people’s work into your own, you need to cite the source.

Why Do We Reference/Cite?

Referencing shows respect to the authors of the sources you are using, boosts the credibility of your work, and provides your reader with a reliable path to the original source. It shows the effort you put into your research and adds context to your work.

What Does Referencing Look Like?

This will depend on which referencing style you are using. A referencing style is a standard set of rules for referencing and formatting documents. Each discipline (e.g., Nursing, Business, English, History) uses a specific referencing style. The most common styles are APA, MLA, and Chicago, and you can find current MRU "quick guides" for each of these styles on this webpage.

Referencing and Academic Integrity

Members of the academic community, including students, have responsibilities to one another. We need to acknowledge authors whose work we use and take care not to misrepresent those authors’ ideas and intent.

If you do not reference sources correctly, it may be considered plagiarism. Plagiarism includes “submitting or using the ideas, words, images, code, performance, or work of others without appropriate citation or referencing” (Code of Student Academic Integrity). Missing citations give the impression that you are trying to take credit for the work of others, and inaccurate citations make it difficult or impossible for your reader to locate the original source. The consequences for plagiarism can include receiving a zero on the assignment, failing the course, and being expelled from the course. Students are responsible for becoming familiar with the rules of referencing.


Current 7th Edition APA Resources
MRU Disciplinary/Program Specific Resources

Digital/Audiovisual assignments

Examples of digital/audiovisual assignments

  • Podcast
  • Presentation with slides
  • Concept map
  • Speech
  • Website / Blog
  • Infographic
  • Video
  • Poster
  • Comic/cartoon

Your approach to citation will vary depending on your medium and your specific assignment, and your citations may not look the same as they would for a traditional written assignment. Check with your instructor about their citation requirements, and use the resources below.

MRU Academic Integrity Training Module on D2L

The new MRU Code of Student Academic Integrity policy came into effect on August 25, 2022. To support understanding of the importance of academic integrity, Student Learning Services (SLS) has developed an introductory online training module, available on D2L.

This 60-minute training module is designed to increase awareness of the value of academic integrity and the types of misconduct, how they are defined in the MRU policy, and resources to build confidence and skills for success. It includes videos, sample scenarios, and questions to test understanding. All members of the MRU community are welcome to try the module.

Participants who complete all sections and learning assessments of the training will receive access to a record of completion which will be sent directly to their email account.

Begin Training

Helpful sites

Getting Citation Help

As a university scholar, part of your job is to learn how to use referencing styles correctly in your academic work, and there are several MRU resources available to support you with this work. Referencing is something all scholars do, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help!

The MRU Referencing Guides posted on this section of the Library website (APA, MLA, Chicago) are designed through collaboration between Student Learning Services and MRU Librarians. They are updated before each academic year and are a great source for orienting yourself to referencing work. The guides feature a similar design to provide easy and consistent navigation for each referencing style.

Student Learning Services provides in-depth help with citation.

  • Attend an MLA or APA workshop (registration is required).
  • Complete the self-paced online APA tutorial, available on D2L. Click here then select “Enroll in Course” to get started. (Make sure you’re logged in using credentials.)
  • Book a one-on-one appointment to meet with a Learning Strategist online or in person.

Use the Library's Ask Us Chat service (pop up box on the Library website) for help with quick citation and resource questions. This virtual support is often available during evenings and weekends.

Important note! Many citation format guidelines are open to interpretation. For this reason your instructor is the final authority on the subject of citation for any given assignment in that course.

Detecting Plagiarism for Faculty

MRU definition of plagiarism

As defined in MRU’s Code of Student Academic Integrity Policy, plagiarism is submitting or using the ideas, words, images, code, performance, or work of others without appropriate citation or referencing such as:

  • Submitting, including, or presenting the full or partial work (intellectual property) of another;
  • Failing to acknowledge the phrases, ideas, or work of another using appropriate citation or referencing;
  • Submitting the same, or substantially similar, complete or portions of an assignment, project, paper, or work that the Student has previously submitted for evaluation at the University or another institution in previous Academic Activity unless prior approval has been obtained;
  • Unauthorized collaboration with others, beyond what is reasonably expected or permitted, to complete academic work;
  • Soliciting, facilitating, or submitting work that is purchased or otherwise acquired from another person or source unless the work is appropriately cited and/or approved by the Instructor such as hiring or subscribing to services to complete academic work.

Preventing plagiarism

What you can do to make plagiarism less likely in your classroom (Council of Writing Program Administrators, 2003):

  • Support the research and writing process. Build activities, such as peer review and submission of early drafts, into the class structure.
  • State it in writing. Policies and expectations for documenting sources and avoiding plagiarism should be provided to students in writing.
  • Create original assignments. This reduces the likelihood that stock papers on the topic will be available on the internet.
  • Teach students proper citation methods. Ensure that students understand proper methods of citation.
  • Discuss the challenges. Discuss the particular challenges involved with writing and citation and suggest strategies for students to overcome them.
  • Engage students suspected of plagiarism. Meet with students who are suspected of plagiarism to determine whether the misuse of sources was intentional.

Identifying sources of plagiarized material

If you suspect that plagiarism has occurred, you may wish to identify the source of the plagiarized material. If you have chosen to use Turnitin similarity software in your course, consult this page from MRU’s Academic Development Centre for MRU’s policy related to it, a simplified, friendly graphic version of the policy, and guidance on how to use the software. Outside of using Turnitin, below are a few general detection methods to try.

  • Detection method 1: Search the web for a unique or distinct phrase that occurs in the student submission.
  • Detection method 2: Search the Library’s main search box for items in the bibliography/reference list of the student submission.
    • If the item is not available through the MRU Library or readily available on the web, this may be an indicator that this work is not original. In this case you will want to have a discussion with your student about how they obtained the material.
  • Detection method 3: Interview your student about their research process.
    • A student who has done all their research themselves should be able to give a clear account of the material used in their paper and where the information was sourced.
    • Dr. Sarah Eaton at the University of Calgary’s Werklund School of Education and Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning has developed this educator resource, “How to Lead a Discovery Interview About Contract Cheating,” which may be useful in preparation for interviewing a student about their work.

How can the Library help?

  • Library instruction sessions
    In our information literacy classes, librarians support students as they develop knowledge practices appropriate to their field of study. We discuss approaches to information assessment and emphasize the significance of following ethical and legal guidelines as learners engage in the gathering and use of information. Specifically, librarians help teach the importance of applying proper citation techniques and correctly incorporating research into one’s work. Contact your Librarian or connect with the chair of the Library to book a class.
  • Citation information
    Citation information, including custom MRU handouts on various styles, are available on this page in the Citation Styles and Resources section above.
  • Assistance tracking down potentially plagiarized information.
    Librarians are available to help instructors search for original sources of information if plagiarism is suspected. Contact your subject librarian.
  • Help with plagiarism-proofing your assignments
    Your subject librarian can help you develop assignments that make plagiarism less viable, like asking for bibliographies in advance, starting with annotated bibliographies and recommending topics that are less likely to have ready-made papers available online. Contact your subject librarian
  • Academic Development Centre
    The ADC can help instructors design assessments that authentically engage learners and to explore pedagogical approaches that mitigate against plagiarism occurring.

  • Student Learning Services
    SLS administers an academic integrity online training module for students and also offers workshops and appointments on writing, referencing, math and learning topics. Additionally, SLS has created this list of supports for students’ academic integrity learning.

  • Office of Student Community Standards
    The OSCS has created this Academic Integrity for Faculty and Staff page that includes links to academic integrity resources as well as direction on how to report academic misconduct.

Citation Management

Citation management software

Citation management software allows you to save and organize items found via searching the library's databases. It also can be used to create reference lists and citations for papers. There are a number of software systems available

Two of the most popular free software management systems are Mendeley and Zotero. Below are some features that may help you decide between the two:

Reasons to choose Mendeley

  • Your research consists mainly of pdfs. Often this is the choice for researchers in the Sciences
  • Mendeley works well with Chrome and Safari and has a desktop version
  • 2 GB cloud storage
  • Mendeley has very well developed social collaboration tools. For example, you can find citations from similar users and search within its crowd-sourced research database
  • Desktop version is installed on all publicly accessible computers at MRU

Reasons to choose Zotero

  • Zotero works better if your research is both html and pdf. Often this is the choice for researchers in the Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Zotero works well with Firefox. It also has a standalone desktop application
  • 300 MB cloud storage
  • Allows easy citation additions from websites like Amazon and Flickr
  • Well liked interface for tagging and writing notes to accompany citations

Assistance with Citation Management Software

If you have any difficulties installing the software contact ITS at or 403.440.6000

Further questions about citation management software? Contact your subject librarian.