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African American Experience Course: Additional Resources

Reading Literature for African American Course

LHML A-Z Databases


When To Cite

A citation is a reference to the source of information used in your research. Any time you directly quote, paraphrase or summarize the essential elements of someone else's idea in your work, an in-text citation should follow. An in-text citation is a brief notation within the text of your paper or presentation which refers the reader to a fuller notation, or end-of-paper citation, that provides all necessary details about that source of information.

Direct quotations should be surrounded by quotations marks and are generally used when the idea you want to capture is best expressed by the source. 

Paraphrasing and summarizing involve rewording an essential idea from someone else's work, usually to either condense the point or to make it better fit your writing style.

You do not have to cite your own ideas, unless they have been published. And you do not have to cite common knowledge, or information that most people in your audience would know without having to look it up.

In-Text Citations

In-text citations alert the reader to an idea from an outside source.

Parenthetical Notes

In MLA and APA styles, in-text citations usually appear as parenthetical notes (sometimes called parenthetical documentation). They are called parenthetical notes because brief information about the source, usually the author's name, year of publication, and page number, is enclosed in parentheses as follows:

MLA style: (Smith 263)

APA style: (Smith, 2013, p. 263)

Parenthetical notes are inserted into the text of the paper at the end of a sentence or paragraph:>

Example of a parenthetical in-text citation.

In MLA and APA styles, in-text citations are associated with end-of-paper citations that provide full details about an information source.

Note: Different source types and situations require different information within the parentheses. Refer to a style guide for the style you are using for details.

Note Numbers

In Chicago and CSE styles, in-text citations usually appear as superscript numerals, or note numbers, as follows:

These note numbers are associated with full citations that can appear as footnotes (bottom of page), endnotes (end of chapter or paper), or lists of cited references at the end of the paper.


Example of a footnote. After the paraphrased or quoted text, there is a superscript numeral to identify the citation. At the end of the page, all the citations for that page are listed.


Example of an endnote. A numeral to identify the citation is placed in superscript at the end of the quoted or paraphrased material. At the end of the document, the citations are listed in the order that they appeared in the document.

End-of-Paper Citations

End-of-paper citations, as well as footnotes and endnotes, include full details about a source of information. Citations contain different pieces of identifying information about your source depending on what type of source it is. In academic research, your sources will most commonly be articles from scholarly journals, and the citation for an article typically includes: 

  • author(s)
  • article title
  • publication information (journal title, date, volume, issue, pages, etc.)
  • and, for online sources:
    • DOI (digital object identifier).
    • URL of the information source itself
    • URL of the journal that published the article

There are many other types of sources you might use, including books, book chapters, films, song lyrics, musical scores, interviews, e-mails, blog entries, art works, lectures, websites and more. To determine which details are required for a citation for a particular source type, find that source type within the style guide for the citation style you are using.

At the end of your research paper, full citations should be listed in order according to the citation style you are using:

  • In MLA style, this list is called a Works Cited page.  
  • In APA style, it is called a References page.
  • In CSE style, it is called a Cited References page.
  • And, in Chicago style, there may be both a Notes page and a Bibliography page. 

Information from:


When you search for information, a lot will be found. But the question then is, are the information you located and retrieved authentic and original?

You can use CRAAP Test can help you in determining if the information(s) are authentic.

The CRAAP Test is a list of questions to help you evaluate the information you find.

The Acronym CRAAP stands for:

Currency: The timeliness of the information.

  1. When was the information published or posted?
  2. Has the information been revised or updated?
  3. Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?
  4. Are the links functional?

Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.

  1. Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  2. Who is the intended audience?
  3. Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  4. Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is the one you will use?
  5. Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?

Authority: The source of the information.

  1. Who is the author / publisher / source / sponsor?
  2. What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
  3. Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
  4. Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?
  5. Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source (examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net)?

Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.

  1. Where does the information come from?
  2. Is the information supported by evidence?
  3. Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  4. Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  5. Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  6. Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?

Purpose: The reason the information exists.

  1. What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
  2. Do the authors / sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  3. Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
  4. Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  5. Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?
  1. Using someone else’s ideas in your writing(s) without giving credit to the original creator of the ideas is plagiarism.  Whether you meant to do it or not, does not justified your action(s).
  2. Always take careful notes and make it clear when you are taking information from another source
  3. If you paraphrase, cite the source in parenthesis.
  4. In MLA and APA styles, in-text citations usually appear in parenthesis.  

Do you think plagiarism is a problem that is talked about in academia.  Check out these real world examples of celebrities being accused of plagiarizing.

Plagiarism at Lincoln University

According to the LU Catalog:

"Plagiarism is the use of reference sources without providing correct acknowledgements. When you use ideas or words created by another person and do not give proper credit, you are claiming the words or ideas are your own. In essence, you are stealing from the original writer." In essence, "You Quote It, You Note It."

Plagiarism may take many forms:

  • cheating,
  • copying information directly without providing quotation marks,
  • failing to cite sources, or
  • citing sources incorrectly.

It does not matter whether you intended to plagiarize or whether the plagiarism occurred unintentionally, there are consequences to the offense. Ignorance of the rules of correct citation is not an acceptable excuse.

Below are the consequences for plagiarizing:

  • Your might fail the assignment
  • Fail the course
  • A letter sent to your academic file
  • If more than one offense, the offender is sent to academic judicial review board.
  • Offender may face expulsion