You will first need to determine which citation style you are using. Sometimes your professor will explicitly state which citation style to use, while in other instances, it will be up to you to determine the most appropriate style. Once you have determined the best style guide for your purpose, you should locate a credible, reliable resource to use as you write. Citation styles have a tendency to change over time (to accommodate new mediums, such as and Twitter, and accommodate changes in how we access sources), and therefore it is important to use the most updated style guide when citing sources.

It is also important to note that citing a source is a two-step process: you must include both the in-text citation as well as the Works Cited/Reference entry for the source. One way to think of citations is as a map: your essay is the map, the in-text citations are the locations, and the Works Cited/Reference page is the legend. Your reader will not know what the in-text citation is referencing without the complete citation located in the Works Cited/Reference page.

Some helpful resources to use while formatting your essay and citations: