Citing Source

Why to Cite Sources?

How to Cite

Why to Cite Sources?

Citing sources properly is an essential element of research ethics. Using a source is much more than simply pulling out a phrase or passage to quote in support of your ideas.

  • To use a source with integrity, students and researchers should first read the entire document and fully understand what the author is saying.
  • Whenever you quote, paraphrase, or summarize an author’s ideas in your paper, you should represent them accurately and in context to credit the originality of the ideas of the author.

At CUHK, there is a clear guideline on academic honesty and plagiarism: Honesty in academic work: a Guild for students and Teachers in CUHK

There are myriads of citation styles available, some are general, some are specific to a subject discipline.  The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University provides a style manual by discipline, which is a useful reference source for selection of an appropriate citation style.

APA Citation Style

APA citation style refers to the rules and conventions established by the American Psychological Association for documenting sources used in a research paper. It requires both in-text citation and a reference list. For every in-text citation there should be a full citation in the reference list and vice versa.

For the detailed examples of APA styles and formats, please refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association and the APA Style Guide to Electronic References.

For automatic generation of bibliography in appropriate citation style, you can use the function of formatting a bibliography from a list of references available in Refworks and EndNote.

Chicago Citation Style

The Chicago style is commonly used in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. It supports two citation systems: the Notes and Bibliography system and the Author-Date system. The Notes and Bibliography style is traditionally favored by the disciplines in the humanities. In-text citations are provided in notes (footnotes or endnotes) and all sources are listed alphabetically at end of paper in the bibliography. The Chicago Style Quick Guide shows you how to write notes (footnotes & endnotes) and how to write the bibliographic entries for the most common sources.

Harvard Citation Style

Harvard Style is an example of author-date referencing. The Harvard style is very common and is used across most disciplines.

Please note the following when using Harvard Style:

  1. Include the author’s last name and the date of publication in brackets after the citation in the body of your paper
  2. Initials should be used without spaces or full points.
  3. Up to six authors may be listed. If more than list the first three authors and represent the rest by ‘et al.’rather than write them out in full.
  4. The full reference to the work is included in an alphabetic reference list or bibliography at the end of the paper

For the detailed examples of Harvard styles and formats, please refer to the

MLA Citation Style

Developed by the Modern Language Association of America, MLA style for documentation is widely used in the humanities, especially in writing on language and literature. MLA citation style uses a simple two-part parenthetical documentation system for citing sources: citations in the text of a paper points to the alphabetical works cited list that appears at the end of the paper. Together, these references identify and credit the sources used in the paper and allow others to access and retrieve this material.

For the detailed examples of MLA styles and formats, please refer to the