Category Archives: Citation

Cite while you write

Cite while you write

by Sarah Geis

I’m sure many of you cite your papers the way I used to: do it all at the end!

While that may sound like no big deal and even a good idea, I eventually discovered that it’s a huge time waster and completely inefficient.

Unfortunately, when I had this wonderful realization, it was at the most inconvenient time.

You might not believe me (like the many friends that have rolled their eyes when I suggest they cite while they write), but there may come a day when you meet some unanticipated circumstances. During the second semester of my freshman year, I was finishing up my final draft of a 15-page paper that was due at midnight; I finished the paper right at 11:50 pm! It would only take me five minutes to put in my citations, right? WRONG! There ended up being complications that I didn’t anticipate. I had saved the source links for a lot of my information, but I was suddenly unable to find them. I hadn’t done a good job of organizing my sources. The time it took to type in the information I did have took me longer than five minutes. I ended up turning the paper in a half hour later and got downgraded — talk about a big bummer.

Since then, I’ve started citing as I write my papers. The best way to do this? Create your citations while doing research. Once you find sources that you want to use, create the citations, keep them in a Word doc, then copy and paste the reference when you need to cite something in your paper (NoodleTools is very useful for this).

You don’t need to wait! Don’t put it off! I promise you it’s much faster and more efficient. Everything is organized and ready to go. This way, whenever you’re working on a paper right up to the deadline (which I would try to avoid), you can just turn it in! You won’t have to worry about doing the citations at the end ever again. Start your citation process at the beginning of your writing and research process, and you’ll be much happier when writing your papers.

Sarah Geis is a sophomore majoring in Political Science and minoring in Mass Communications. She enjoys photography, writing, reading, drawing, and video games. When she graduates from college, she would like to attend graduate school and either pursue law or earn a PhD. in Political Science.

Perfecting your paraphrasing

by Dean Colarossi

In academic writing, students rely on other people’s words to make arguments, refute claims, and prove their points. Evidence comes in many different forms—in books, online, and even through audio—and writers need a way to capture this information and give proper credit to the author. In my experience, I sometimes realize that a quote just won’t cut it, so I choose to paraphrase instead. It is worth noting that paraphrasing means taking an author’s idea and translating it into your own words. This means that you must restructure your sentences, vocabulary, and even paragraphs to be different from the original writing.

A common misconception is that paraphrases do not require a citation. They do!  In fact, you must cite a paraphrase the same way you cite a quote or summary. Let’s see an example of how to paraphrase a quote. Here is one of my favorite quotes from Arnold Schwarzenegger—

“While you’re out there partying, horsing around, someone out there at the same time is working hard. Someone is getting smarter and someone is winning. Just remember that.” (

This quote, paraphrased, looks like this:

          Think about this: Someone is always working to better themselves, even when you are going out, enjoying yourself, and causing mischief. (

Note that the entire structure of the quote has changed because it is not a quote anymore! It is a paraphrase, and we still give credit to Mr. Schwarzenegger for his insightful idea.

Here are a few steps to make the paraphrasing process easier to understand:

  • Read the passage you wish to paraphrase
  • Try to ponder until you fully understand the quote you wish to paraphrase.
  • Look away from the original words and write the ideas down (on paper).
  • Compare your words to the author’s words. Ask yourself: Do my words convey the meaning of the author’s point?
  • Cite your author to credit them for their idea.

Happy paraphrasing!


Dean Colarossi is a business administration and economics major and competes for the Principia track and field team.


Making quotations work for you

by Samuel Sugarman

Quotation integration sounds wordy and abstract but, put simply, this procedure is how you make a quotation work for you. Quotations are fantastic literary tools that, when used correctly, can greatly improve the clarity and strength of your paper. I’m sure that you have run into a situation where you were writing a paper and found a great, supporting quotation, but didn’t know how to fit it in your paper. If this sounds like you, don’t worry, it happens to everyone. There are some great ways to make your quote fit into your paper seamlessly, and you have probably already used them without knowing it.

There are three main ways I like to integrate quotes:

  1. In the first style, introduce your quote with a complete sentence ending with a colon. Then boom, you insert your quote. I’m a visual guy, and I’m not good at picturing literary styles, so let’s try it with an example. Let’s say I’m quoting Chuck Norris when he says, “Violence is my last option.” If I use this first style, I will start with a sentence ending in a colon and then insert my quote. So here we go. When asked about his martial arts, Chuck Norris always said the same thing: “Violence is my last option.”


  1. But wait there’s more, and it’s an elegant trick. You can introduce your quote with an introductory phrase followed by a comma, and then your quote. It looks like this. The wise Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”


  1. Now check this out. I can use this same quote and integrate it into my sentence without using punctuation. All I must do is replace the comma with the word “that” and it works perfectly. The wise Benjamin Franklin once said that “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” No punctuation and it fits right in.

If you use these tricks, you can seamlessly place quotes into your paper to strengthen it.

Note: This does not include proper citation of quotations. Remember to check your citation style for how to properly attribute your quotation to its respective source!

Sugarman is a sophomore who has recently developed a love for writing. A business major, Sugarman hopes to make the writing center more welcoming to all students, no matter their field of study.

Annotated bibliographies: assets to the writing process

by Bailey Bischoff

Writing annotated bibliographies can seem like busywork. After all, if you found the article or data from a reputable source, why do you need to talk about its validity? However, annotated bibliographies can be used for much more than just proving a source is valid and relevant. Annotated bibliographies are one of the best ways to getting a jumpstart on writing a paper.

What is an annotated bibliography, and why is it so useful? Let’s break it down. Each annotation should include a summary of the source, an evaluation of the validity of the source, and the relevance to your eventual paper.

1) Summary: The summary should detail the content of the source, as well as the purpose and intended audience. Through describing the source and intended audience, you will start to get a better idea of how the source will fit into your paper. The more you know about your sources, the more you will be able to easily incorporate them into your paper!

2) Validity: Evaluating the validity of the source is essentially an argument that your paper will be supported with the right kind of information and can help you identify whether or not you have a good variety and number of sources needed to write a thoroughly researched paper. This section includes gauging the author’s bias and authority, which means you might have to do some background research on the author. Also, take into consideration when the source was written and whether that affects relevancy to your topic.  Understanding the scope of your research (and identifying any holes) can save you from doing last-minute research after writing your paper, only to find that it your paper wasn’t as well-researched as you had intended.

3) Relevance: Establishing the relevance of the source is really just summarizing the value of the source to your specific project or purpose. Writing on the relevance of the source forces you to think about how the information it provides fits into your paper. Touching on the relevance in an annotation can get you thinking about the organization of your paper, an important pre-writing step which will help your paper flow together better.

Summarizing and evaluating the relevance and usefulness of each source gets you to think about how each source will fit into your paper. After writing an annotated bibliography, you should be ready to write an outline and identify where more research is needed. Instead of being an unnecessary, meaningless task, writing an annotated bibliography is a great way to start writing a well-rounded, thoroughly researched paper!


Bailey Bischoff is a political science major in her senior year of college.

Keep calm and write an annotated bibliography

by Sydni Hammar

A wise professor once told me, “Any time you’re trying to figure out how long something will take to do, take the amount of time you think it will take, and multiply that number by six.”

I have found this to be true time after time. If you care about getting work done correctly the first time around, expect to invest ample time from the start.

I put this idea into practice recently when I was given the assignment to thoroughly annotate 20 sources as part of some initial research for my capstone. Here are specific tools I use for doing thorough annotations, which take time, but are incredibly worth it:

  • Print each article out and ACTUALLY annotate the text by hand. (ex. Ask questions in the margins, paraphrase the thesis of the article, highlight key sections/sentences). If you don’t know the meaning of a word, look it up and write it in the margin!
  • After you go through the annotation process, take a break! But don’t just scroll through Facebook or Instagram—really give your mind space to absorb the information you just read. So, go for a walk, do some yoga—or whatever else works for you!
  • When you come back to write your annotation, go through the article again. This time, pay attention to your marginal comments, weave in quotes you underlined, and make sure you articulate the thesis and main points of the article.

This process may seem like a lot of work, but it is work that will ultimately save you so much time. A thorough annotated bibliography is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself as you write a research paper.


Sydni Hammar is a senior majoring in English, and works as an editor for Mistake House, a student-run literary magazine at Principia College.






Three reasons to create citations without an online generator

by Meredith Hamilton

You’ve spent two weeks writing and editing your paper and compiling your citations on NoodleBib only to receive your paper back with red slashes through your Works Cited page and a less than ideal grade. You thought NoodleBib was foolproof. Unfortunately, online generators are never one hundred percent accurate—even the ones provided by the database where you found your article. Here are three reasons to start writing your citations yourself:


  1. You learn more. If you’re used to relying on an online generator to create citations, then you likely don’t understand why one style is ordered differently from another, why a certain style calls for commas over periods, or why the title of the journal is in quotations or italics. There are actually well–thought-out reasons for all of these things!


  1. It’s faster. It really is! Once you’ve mastered creating citations in your desired style (MLA, Chicago, APA, etc.) you don’t have to waste time plugging them all into an online form. When you’re first starting out I recommend using Purdue Owl to check yourself. This can slow down the process a little, but you’ll be a citation-making machine before you know it.


  1. Your future job may require it. Citations aren’t just a “college thing—” they’re a life thing. If you have any interest in pursuing a graduate degree or a career in academia, then you will still need to know how to cite in a specific style. When you create your own citations you demonstrate a mastery and understanding of them. Be this person!


So there you go, you should create your own citations because you learn more, it’s faster, and because citations aren’t just a “college thing.” Although the task may seem tedious, it’s simply a process of weaning yourself off of the online generator. Begin by using Purdue Owl or stop by the CTL or tutor café for help on citation styles. Happy citing!

Meredith is a senior majoring in English and political science. One of her favorite college experiences has been studying abroad in England and Spain. 

Master the mechanics of quote integration

by Haley Schabes

When writing a paper, it is important to integrate the quotes you are using correctly. You never want to just “drop” a quote into your paper. Dropped quotes interrupt the flow of your paper and risk leaving your paper without a sense of cohesion.

There are four ways to correctly integrate a quote into your writing:

  1. Introduce it with a complete sentence and a colon (:)
  2. Use an introductory phrase and a comma (,)
  3. Include the quote as part of your sentence without punctuation
  4. Use only small snippets from the quote in the flow of your own sentence


Now this might be a bit hard to understand, so let’s give some examples for each:

How to introduce a quote with a complete sentence and a colon:

In Experience and Education, John Dewey explains that failure is important to learning: “Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes” (Salkind 393).

Notice: If you use a complete sentence to introduce a quote then use a colon (:) before you place the quote. Don’t be tempted by a semicolon or comma.


How to use an introductory phrase and a comma:

John Dewey explains the importance of failure in learning when he says, “failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes” (Salkind 393).

Notice: Place the comma between the introductory phrase and the quote. You can introduce the quote using verbs such as says, states, believes, asks, questions, and many others.


How to include a quote without punctuation in a sentence:

In Experience and Education, Dewey explains that “failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes” (Salkind 393).

Notice: The word “that” replaces the use of the word “says” from the previous example. If you use the word “that,” you do not use a comma in the sentence to introduce the quote.


Finally, here is an example of how to use snippets from a quote in your own sentence:

Dewey explains that failure is not an obstacle for “a person who really thinks” but is “instructive” (Salkind 393).

Notice: You do not need punctuation if the quote fits into the flow of your own sentence.

WARNING: In all of the above, you do need to CITE the quote. For more on citing and quote integration, click on the “citation” category at the top of this post and you’ll find more posts and lessons on the subject.

Happy quoting!

Haley Schabes is a senior majoring in business administration and minoring in education, economics, and Asian studies. Her current aspiration is to teach English abroad after college.


Works Cited: Salkind, Neil J. “F.” Encyclopedia of Educational Psychology. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2008. p. 393. Google Books. Web. 16 September 2016.

Recognizing plagiarism

by Kristin Kayser

Plagiarism is that daunting crime that professors have been warning students of since day one. They don’t want you to accidentally fall into that trap and you don’t want to either; in fact, many teachers will help you if you have questions or if either of you suspects plagiarism in your work. So, you know what it is—taking someone else’s words or ideas and claiming them as your own—but are you sure you know how to recognize it in one of your own papers?

First, read through your paper, not to proofread but to check for consistency in your tone/voice. (You can do this silently, aloud, or even have a friend read it to you.) If you begin the paper sounding like yourself and somewhere in the middle turn into someone else, it’s a major red flag. Chances are you may have missed placing quotation marks somewhere or paraphrased too closely to the original text. When a student’s voice or tone is inconsistent, there’s a chance that there is plagiarism involved.

Another indication of plagiarism can be poor or uncited paraphrasing, as can some instances of word choice. If you wouldn’t use the word yourself but found it in a source, then you need to cite it and possibly place it in quotation marks and give context for it.

And remember: using the correct citation form and style is just as important as using quotation marks. If you have questions, check the relevant style manual (such as Chicago, MLA, APA) or check with someone who can help you find an answer.

If you ever have any questions about plagiarism or citations, you can always ask your professor or a writing tutor or set up a meeting with someone in the Center for Teaching and Learning. Accidental plagiarism is an easy fix, once you know what to look for.

Kristin Kayser is a senior majoring in educational studies and will be working at the Walt Disney Company this coming fall.

Where to find citation help

by Kristin Kayser

Like many of you, I’m taking a wide array of classes this semester, which means that I’m running into unfamiliar citation styles. When one paper required APA citation and another had to be written in Chicago style, I was a little stumped. I hadn’t used either style in a long time.

As a writing tutor, I have come across many students who were having the exact sameproblem. So I decided to look for different helpful resources available to Principia students. The options range from programs like NoodleTools to the actual books on citation styles at the tutor station in the library.

One great option is the Purdue OWL website which includes all styles of citations, in-text examples, bibliographies, and works cited help. The website is easy to navigate and has a ton of examples. This is definitely a website to check out for anyone with questions on citations and style guides.

Principia’s library website also provides students with citation guides and other aids as well. To find these, go directly to the Marshall Brooks Library home page. Use the link to Citation Guides to go to the library’s page on all the citation style guides. On this page, there are links to helpful resources like NoodleTools and the Purdue OWL website, and there are tabs across the top for nine—yes, nine—citation styles. Double check your assignment or ask your professor which style is appropriate since you can lose points for using the wrong citation style. One last suggestion for citation help is the tutor station in the library. There, students can find the manuals as well as brief handouts on the MLA, APA, and Chicago citation styles. These sheets will give a student the “elevator version” of the citation style she is working with. Even better, if you have further questions, you can ask a tutor. Chances are they’ve helped another student with a similar question and are ready to help you too!

Kristin Kayser is a senior majoring in Education Studies with a minor in English. After graduation, she plans to head back to work at Walt Disney World.

Cracking the Chicago code

by Bailey Bishoff

For the first paper I wrote my freshman year of college, I was asked to use Chicago style. Having never been introduced to this style before, I wrote my paper in MLA format using parenthetical citations instead of footnotes, exactly as I had in high school. That was a mistake! MLA and Chicago are two very different citation styles. For instance, while MLA uses parenthetical citations to cite sources within the paper, Chicago uses footnotes or endnotes. These two citation styles cite different information and in a different order, so make sure you use the citation style guides found under the Principia College library Citation Guides tab to make sure you are formatting your information correctly. Click the Chicago tab.

When writing in Chicago style format, there are three types of footnotes that you will use throughout your paper: full footnotes, short footnotes, and Ibid.

Full footnote: When you are citing a source for the FIRST time and only the FIRST time, you will use the long footnote. This usually includes information like the author, title of the book, edition, publishing company, where it was published, and the page number you are citing.

For example:

  1. Karen A. Mingst and Ivan M. Arreguín-Toft, Essentials of International Relations, 5th ed. (New York: W.W.Norton & Company, 2011), 35.


Short footnote: This footnote includes less information than the long footnote and is used when you are citing a source again in your paper, after citing other sources in between. The reader no longer needs all of the information you have about the source, and you can shorten your footnote, stating only the author, title of the book, and page number you are citing.

For example:

  1. Mingst and Arreguín-Toft, Essentials of International Relations, 35.

Ibid.: You use Ibid. when you are citing a source two or more times consecutively. If you have just cited a source and use the same source in the next paragraph and need to cite it again, you no longer need to put the author and title into your footnote. Instead you can write “Ibid., (whatever page number you used).” If you are citing the same source and the same page number, then all you have to write in your footnote is “Ibid.”

For example:

  1. Karen A. Mingst and Ivan M. Arreguín-Toft, Essentials of International Relations, 5th ed. (New York: W.W.Norton & Company, 2011), 63.
  1. Ibid., 75.
  1. Ibid.

Tricky Tabbing and Flip Flopping: Remember that for footnotes, only the first line is indented, whereas in your bibliography everything BUT the first line is indented. And notice that the whereas the author is presented last name first in the bibliography, it’s first, then last in the footnote! Always check the style guide for details.


  1. Karen A. Mingst and Ivan M. Arreguín-Toft, Essentials of International Relations, 5th ed. (New York: W.W.Norton & Company, 2011), 63.

Bibliography entry:

Mingst, Karen A., and Ivan M. Arreguín-Toft. Essentials of International Relations. 5th ed.
New York: W.W.Norton & Company, 2011.

Happy citing!

Bailey Bischoff is a sophomore majoring in political science and global perspectives.