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PYRE 1731: Introduction to Philosophy and Religion: Citation Guidance


Use the tabs below to learn more about why and when to use citations, how to format Chicago style citations, and how to format MLA style citations.

Citation Guidance

Why Do We Cite Our Sources?

By citing your sources you:

  • Give credit to others for their ideas (avoid plagiarism)
  • Demonstrate to your reader how your own ideas stem from, differ from, or relate to those in your sources
  • Distinguish your ideas from the ideas of others
  • Lend credibility to your own work by citing credible sources
  • Assist your reader, who may want to find the sources that you used

When To Cite Your Sources

You must provide a citation when:

  • Quoting directly from a source (copying the words of another)
  • Paraphrasing ideas or information from a source (rewriting a passage in your own words)
  • Incorporating into your paper information or ideas that are not general knowledge

What's In A Citation

Citations at the end of your paper should always tell you:

  • Who wrote the source? Who is the author, editor, artist, or organization behind the work? For a book, the citation will also include information about who published the source.
  • What is it called? What is the title of the book, article, website, photograph, etc.?
  • When was the source was published? What is the date of publication?
  • Where can your reader find the source? For a journal article, what journal is published in? For online sources, what is the URL or DOI (digital object identifier)?

Citation styles vary in how they present this information, but generally, these elements are always included.

Chicago Style Citations

The Chicago NB (Notes & Bibliography) system is often used in History scholarship and provides writers with a system for referencing their sources through footnote or endnote citation in their writing and through bibliography pages. It also offers writers an outlet for commenting on those cited sources. 

The Chicago Manual of Style

Resources to Help with Chicago Citations

To see examples of what Chicago style citations should look like for different source types, check out the following websites. These websites provide guidance on how to format footnotes and bibliography entries for a variety of source types. 

Video: Chicago Citations

Run Time: 2:54

Key Student Learning Competencies: 

  • When & Why for Using Chicago (0:25)
  • Chicago In-Text Citations (0:32)
  • Chicago In-Text Footnotes: Books (0:50)
  • Chicago In-Text Footnotes: Journals (1:25)
  • Chicago Bibliographies (1:58)
  • More Resources (2:31)


You should include a footnote each time you use a source, whether through a direct quote or through a paraphrase or summary.

Formatting Footnotes:

  • Note numbers should begin with “1” and follow consecutively throughout a given paper. Each new citation gets a new number, even if you have already cited that source.
  • In the text, a superscript number corresponding to the note should be placed in the text when you reference information in a source. Note numbers should be placed at the end of the clause or sentence to which they refer and should be placed after any and all punctuation.  
  • Write the footnotes in the footer of the page on which the source is referenced. The footnote should begin with the same number used in the text of the paper. The first note for each source should include all relevant information about the source: full name(s) of the author(s), source title, and facts of publication. If you cite the same source again, the note need only include the surname(s) of the author(s), a shortened form of the title (if more than four words), and page number(s).
  • For each footnote, include the page number(s) for where you found the information you are citing. If the source does not have page numbers, cite the  chapter number, section heading, or paragraph number.
  • If you wish to include commentary on the source, place the commentary after the citation in the footnote. Separate the citation and the commentary with a period. 


In the Chicago NB system, the bibliography provides an alphabetical list of all sources used in a given work. This page, most often titled Bibliography, is usually placed at the end of the work. It should include all sources cited within the work.

Although bibliographic entries for various sources may be formatted differently, all included sources (books, articles, websites, etc.) are arranged alphabetically by author’s last name. If no author or editor is listed on a source, the title of that source may be used instead for alphabetization in the bibliography. 

Common Elements

Entries in the bibliography generally include the author (or editor, compiler, translator), title, and publication information. The publication information includes the publication date. For books, include the city of publication and the name of the publisher. For journal articles, include the name of the journal. For journal articles, also include the volume number, issue number, and page range if this information is available. For online sources, include a DOI (digital object identifier) or URL. 

Author’s Names

The first author’s name is inverted in the bibliography, placing the last name first and separating the last name and first name with a comma; for example, John Smith becomes Smith, John. (If an author is not listed first, this applies to compilers, translators, etc.) If there is more than one author, write the first author's name as Surname, First Name. Write the other author's names as First Name Surname. 


Titles of books and journals are italicized. Titles of articles, chapters, webpages, etc. are placed in quotation marks.

Publication Information

The year of publication is listed after the publisher or journal name.


In a bibliography, all major elements are separated by periods.

Formatting the Bibliography:

  • Label your comprehensive list of sources at the end of your paper as “Bibliography.”
  • Start the bibliography on a new page at the end of your paper. 
  • Leave two blank lines between “Bibliography” and your first entry. 
  • Leave one blank line between remaining entries. 
  • List entries in letter-by-letter alphabetical order according to the first word in each entry. 
  • Authors:
    • Use “and,” not an ampersand (&) for multi-author entries. 
    • For two to three authors, write out all names. 
    • For four to ten authors, write out all names in the bibliography but only the first author’s name plus “et al.” in footnotes. 
    • When a source has no identifiable author, cite it by its title.
  • Write out publishers’ names in full. 
  • Do not use access dates unless publication dates are unavailable.  
  • If you cannot ascertain the publication date of a printed work, use the abbreviation “n.d.”
  • If you cannot ascertain the publication date of an online work, write the date that you accessed that work. 
  • Provide DOIs (digital object identifiers) instead of URLs whenever possible

MLA Style Citations

MLA Citations are commonly used in Humanities research. 

MLA Handbook (9th Ed.) 

MLA Guide and Sample Paper from the Purdue OWL: 

MLA Citations Video

Run Time: 3:17

  • What is MLA? (0:20)
  • MLA In-Text Citations (0:50)
  • MLA Reference List Overview (1:24)
  • MLA Reference List: Journals (1:47)
  • MLA Reference List: Books (2:33)
  • MLA Reference List: Resource w/ Container (2:54)

In-Text Citations

The in-text citation is a brief reference within your text that indicates the source you consulted. It should properly attribute any ideas, paraphrases, or direct quotations to your source, and should direct readers to the entry in the list of works cited. For the most part, an in-text citation is the author’s name and page number (or just the page number, if the author is named in the sentence) in parentheses. For example: 


Imperialism is “the practice, the theory, and the attitudes of a dominating metropolitan center ruling a distant territory”      (Said 9).


According to Edward W. Said, imperialism is defined by “the practice, the theory, and the attitudes of a dominating metropolitan center ruling a distant territory” (9).


Your reader can then go to your Works Cited list to find the full citation for this source:


Works Cited

Said, Edward W. Culture and Imperialism. Knopf, 1994.


When creating in-text citations for media that has a runtime, such as a movie or podcast, include the range of hours, minutes and seconds you plan to reference, like so (00:02:15-00:02:35).

Again, your goal is to attribute your source and provide your reader with a reference without interrupting your text. Your readers should be able to follow the flow of your argument without becoming distracted by extra information.

How to Create a Citation for the Works Cited List

MLA is a style of documentation that is based on a general method that may be applied to every possible source


 In your citation, the core elements should be listed in the following order:

  1. Author.
  2. Title of source.
  3. Title of container,
  4. Other contributors,
  5. Version,
  6. Number,
  7. Publisher,
  8. Publication date,
  9. Location.

Each element should be followed by the punctuation mark shown here.


Begin the entry with the author’s last name, followed by a comma and the rest of the name, as presented in the work. End this element with a period.

Said, Edward W. Culture and Imperialism. Knopf, 1994.

Title of Source:

The title of the source should follow the author’s name. Depending upon the type of source, it should be listed in italics or quotation marks.

A book should be in italics:

Henley, Patricia. The Hummingbird House. MacMurray, 1999.  

A website should be in italics:

Lundman, Susan. "How to Make Vegetarian Chili." eHow,

A periodical (journal, magazine, newspaper article) should be in quotation marks:

Bagchi, Alaknanda. "Conflicting Nationalisms: The Voice of the Subaltern in Mahasweta Devi's Bashai Tudu." Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, vol. 15, no. 1, 1996, pp. 41-50.

A song or piece of music on an album should be in quotation marks:

Beyoncé. "Pray You Catch Me." Lemonade, Parkwood Entertainment, 2016,

Title of Container:

Containers are the larger wholes in which the source is located. For example, if you want to cite a poem that is listed in a collection of poems, the individual poem is the source, while the larger collection is the container. The title of the container is usually italicized and followed by a comma, since the information that follows next describes the container.

Kincaid, Jamaica. "Girl." The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories, edited by Tobias Wolff, Vintage, 1994, pp. 306-07.

The container may also be a television series, which is made up of episodes.

“94 Meetings.” Parks and Recreation, created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, performance by Amy Poehler, season 2, episode 21, Deedle-Dee Productions and Universal Media Studios, 2010.

The container may also be a website, which contains articles, postings, and other works.

Zinkievich, Craig. Interview by Gareth Von Kallenbach. Skewed & Reviewed,27 Apr. 2009, Accessed 15 Mar. 2009.

In some cases, a container might be within a larger container. You might have read a book of short stories on Google Books, or watched a television series on Netflix. You might have found the electronic version of a journal on JSTOR. It is important to cite these containers within containers so that your readers can find the exact source that you used.

“94 Meetings.” Parks and Recreation, season 2, episode 21, NBC, 29 Apr. 2010. Netflix,

Langhamer, Claire. “Love and Courtship in Mid-Twentieth-Century England.” Historical Journal, vol. 50, no. 1, 2007, pp. 173-96. ProQuest,doi:10.1017/S0018246X06005966. Accessed 27 May 2009.

Other Contributors:

In addition to the author, there may be other contributors to the source who should be credited, such as editors, illustrators, translators, etc. If their contributions are relevant to your research, or necessary to identify the source, include their names in your documentation.

Foucault, Michel. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. Translated by Richard Howard, Vintage-Random House, 1988.

Woolf, Virginia. Jacob’s Room. Annotated and with an introduction by Vara Neverow, Harcourt, Inc., 2008.


If a source is listed as an edition or version of a work, include it in your citation.

The Bible. Authorized King James Version, Oxford UP, 1998.

Crowley, Sharon, and Debra Hawhee. Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students. 3rd ed., Pearson, 2004.


If a source is part of a numbered sequence, such as a multi-volume book, or journal with both volume and issue numbers, those numbers must be listed in your citation.

Dolby, Nadine. “Research in Youth Culture and Policy: Current Conditions and Future Directions.” Social Work and Society: The International Online-Only Journal, vol. 6, no. 2, 2008, Accessed 20 May 2009.

“94 Meetings.” Parks and Recreation, created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, performance by Amy Poehler, season 2, episode 21, Deedle-Dee Productions and Universal Media Studios, 2010.

Quintilian. Institutio Oratoria. Translated by H. E. Butler, vol. 2, Loeb-Harvard UP, 1980.


The publisher produces or distributes the source to the public. If there is more than one publisher, and they are all are relevant to your research, list them in your citation, separated by a forward slash (/).

Klee, Paul. Twittering Machine. 1922. Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Artchive, Accessed May 2006.

Women's Health: Problems of the Digestive System. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2006.

Daniels, Greg and Michael Schur, creators. Parks and Recreation. Deedle-Dee Productions and Universal Media Studios, 2015.

Note: the publisher’s name need not be included in the following sources: periodicals, works published by their author or editor, a Web cite whose title is the same name as its publisher, a Web cite that makes works available but does not actually publish them (such as YouTubeWordPress, or JSTOR).

Publication Date:

The same source may have been published on more than one date, such as an online version of an original source. For example, a television series might have aired on a broadcast network on one date, but released on Netflix on a different date. When the source has more than one date, it is sufficient to use the date that is most relevant to your use of it. If you’re unsure about which date to use, go with the date of the source’s original publication.

In the following example, Mutant Enemy is the primary production company, and “Hush” was released in 1999. This is the way to create a general citation for a television episode.

“Hush.” Buffy the Vampire Slayer, created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar, season 4, Mutant Enemy, 1999.

However, if you are discussing, for example, the historical context in which the episode originally aired, you should cite the full date. Because you are specifying the date of airing, you would then use WB Television Network (rather than Mutant Enemy), because it was the network (rather than the production company) that aired the episode on the date you’re citing.

“Hush.” Buffy the Vampire Slayer, created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar, season 4, episode 10, WB Television Network, 14 Dec. 1999.


You should be as specific as possible in identifying a work’s location.

An essay in a book, or an article in journal should include page numbers.

Adiche, Chimamanda Ngozi. “On Monday of Last Week.” The Thing around Your Neck, Alfred A. Knopf, 2009, pp. 74-94.

The location of an online work should include a URL.

Wheelis, Mark. "Investigating Disease Outbreaks Under a Protocol to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention." Emerging Infectious Diseases, vol. 6, no. 6, 2000, pp. 595-600, Accessed 8 Feb. 2009.

A physical object that you experienced firsthand should identify the place of location.

Matisse, Henri. The Swimming Pool. 1952, Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Additional Information:

Date of original publication:

If a source has been published on more than one date, the writer may want to include both dates if it will provide the reader with necessary or helpful information.

Erdrich, Louise. Love Medicine. 1984. Perennial-Harper, 1993.

City of publication:

The city in which a publisher is located is only necessary in particular instances, such as in a work published before 1900. Since pre-1900 works were usually associated with the city in which they were published, your documentation may substitute the city name for the publisher’s name.

Thoreau, Henry David. Excursions. Boston, 1863.

Date of access:

When you cite an online source, the MLA Handbook recommends including a date of access on which you accessed the material, since an online work may change or move at any time.

Bernstein, Mark. "10 Tips on Writing the Living Web." A List Apart: For People Who Make Websites, 16 Aug. 2002, Accessed 4 May 2009.


While the eighth edition recommends including URLs when you cite online sources, you should always check with your instructor or editor and include URLs at their discretion.


A DOI, or digital object identifier, is a series of digits and letters that leads to the location of an online source. Articles in journals are often assigned DOIs to ensure that the source is locatable, even if the URL changes. If your source is listed with a DOI, use that instead of a URL.

Alonso, Alvaro, and Julio A. Camargo. "Toxicity of Nitrite to Three Species of Freshwater Invertebrates." Environmental Toxicology, vol. 21, no. 1, 3 Feb. 2006, pp. 90-94. Wiley Online Library,