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 is “a form of academic misconduct that occurs when an individual leads others to believe that work has been authored by them when the work has been authored by someone else” (MRU Academic Misconduct page). 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
Examples of digital/audiovisual assignments
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
The new MRU Code of Student Academic Integrity policy came into effect on August 25, 2022. As a first step towards supporting students' understanding of the importance of academic integrity, Student Learning Services (SLS) has developed an introductory online training module,
This 45-minute training module is designed to increase awareness of the value of academic integrity, the types of misconduct, 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.
Make sure you’re logged into your @mtroyal.ca Google account to access the module. If you are having trouble accessing the training, open an incognito window, log in to your @mtroyal.ca email account, and then open the link.
At the end of the training module, click ‘Submit’ and receive a record of completion to your @mtroyal.ca account.
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).
- 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
From the Student Conduct Guide:
Plagiarism refers to a form of academic misconduct occurring when an individual purports that a piece of work has been authored by him/herself when indeed the work has been created by another individual. In particular, students are expressly prohibited from submitting:
- the words, ideas, images or data of any other person as a student’s own in any academic work which is a component of a course or program of study at the University;
- information or data which have been altered or contrived in any way that is intended to mislead; and
- work which includes misleading references to material or references that do not accurately reflect the sources used by the student.
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. Below are a few detection methods to try.
- Detection method 1: Search the web for a unique or distinct phrase
- To search for the exact phrase enclose it in quotation marks or try Google's Advanced Search.
- Detection method 2: Search the Library’s main search box for items in the bibliography/reference list
- 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.
How can the library help?
- Library instruction sessions. Librarians can include discussion of the importance of proper citation techniques and provide students with tips on correctly incorporating research into their 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.
- 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 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. Contact your subject librarian
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.
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