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Citing Sources: APA & MLA Help

Guides for citing sources in MLA and APA format

Purpose of Citing

To "cite a source" is to tell a reader of your paper where you got a specific quote, fact, graphic, or idea from. This allows the reader to check up on your information and make sure you have:

  • drawn on authoritative sources
  • used them fairly
  • copied from them accurately
  • included all important details
  • interpreted them correctly

Basic Parts of a Citation

Although different citation styles require varying info, the basic building blocks of a citation are usually the same:

  • Author(s)
  • Title 
  • Publisher
  • Date
  • Page Numbers (if any)
  • Date Accessed & URL


MLA and APA are the names of two different citation systems.  There are many others (AP, Chicago/Turabian, legal) but these are the two most used at Lake Land.  

APA is from the American Psychological Association and used mostly in the social sciences

MLA is from the Modern Language Association and used mostly in the humanities

For more details on the differences between MLA and APA, click here.

Academic Integrity Code

Questions about academic dishonesty, plagiarism or cheating? All students should be familiar with the Student Handbook section about Board Policy 07.28.02 - Academic Integrity Code.  

As a college student, you should know that plagiarism is "representing the words of ideas of another as one's own in any academic exercise." This means that you must cite your quotations AND paraphrases in your work. This means that you can't buy a paper to use online or ask a friend to write your paper for you.  You can't submit group work when your instructor didn't give you permission to work together. You can't give your old quizzes to your little brother to use next semester. And you can't re-use your Comp I paper in your Psych course unless you have instructor approval. Your teacher might submit your paper to TurnItIn without telling you.  Review the Student Handbook carefully--you are responsible for your success at Lake Land College. 


Want to use a simple citation generator?

Zotero is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share research. Download it to your personal computer or use Zoterobib to create a quick bibliography. 

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