GEOGRAPHY 111 Physical Geography

Understanding and Creating Citations

What are citations?
Why are citations used?
What is plagiarism?
What is the difference between in-line citation and a bibliography?
Which citation style should be used?
How do I cite a source from the Web?
Resources for Citations

What are citations?

Scholarship builds on the work of others.  Citations give credit where credit is due. Citations, whether in-line in the text of a work or found in a reference list or bibliography, note the source of the work, words, ideas, or facts that you use in your writing or presentation.

Why are citations used?

  • To give credit to the work of others
  • To add authority and credibility to your claims
  • To be honest about the extent of your original contribution
  • To avoid plagiarism

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is when you use someone else’s ideas, work, or words as if they were your own.  Plagiarism occurs anytime you do not give credit where credit is due.  Plagiarism is an ethical and legal issue.  Ohio Wesleyan University addresses plagiarism in the Academic Honesty Policy

What is the difference between in-line citation and a bibliography?

Citations are made in two ways: in-line or parenthetical and reference lists.

Parenthetical citations are placed within the text of your writing to acknowledge the source of a particular idea, fact, words, or work.  Parenthetical citations are brief, consisting, generally, of the author’s last name and year of publication.  They are joined by a full citation entry in a Reference List at the end of your paper or presentation.

Parenthetical Citation examples:

This does not necessarily meant that further economic growth is impossible, but it does mean that growth should be achieved by better use of resources and improved environmental management (Daly, 1987) rather than by the traditional method of increased throughput.
On the national level, one estimate of the economic cost of traffic noise, measured by the depreciation of house prices in France, put the cost to the nation at US$0.27 – 0.45 billion a year (Pearce et al., 1984).
A Reference List (also titled Bibliography or Works Cited) is found at the end of papers, chapters, articles, books, presentations, etc. and includes a complete listing of the sources used to prepare and/or inform your work. 

Reference List Citation examples:

Daly, H.E.  1987.  The economic growth debate: what some 
        economists have learned but many others have not.  Journal of 
        Environmental Economics and Management 14: 323-336.

Pearce, D., Barde, J.P. and Lambert, J.  1984.  Estimating the cost
        of noise pollution in France.  Ambio 13: 27-28.

Which citation style should be used?

There are many different styles of citation.   Each discipline tends to have its own distinct citation style.  Some of the more well known citation styles include MLA, Chicago Handbook of Style, Turabian, APA, and CBE.  These styles each tend to be used by specific academic disciplines.  It is also very common to have the style of citation defined as the style used by the core journal in a particular academic discipline.  For instance, geographers commonly use the style used in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, the most important journal in their field. 

Use the citation style specified by your instructor.  If the instructor does not specify a style, ask her what to use.  If the instructor states that he has no preference, use a style that you already know or adopt the style in use by the dominate journal in the academic discipline.

For Geography 111 Physical Geography, we specify the style used in your textbook, Middleton’s The Global Casino.

How do I cite a source from the Web?

There is a lot of variability in how web pages are cited.   The citation styles mentioned above have not yet settled on a standard method for citing a web page.  However, there are discrete elements which academic librarians agree should be included in any citation from the web.  These include:
  • Authorship (individual or organization responsible) 
    • It is a bad sign if you cannot identify the responsible party for information found on the internet!
  • Title of Page (or page heading)
  • URL (The full and complete URL as found in the address bar of your browser must be given)
  • Date of Creation (the date the contents were written or posted, if known)
  • Date of Page Update (the date specified as “Last update” or “Updated”, usually found at the bottom of web pages
  • Date Accessed (the date you accessed the information found on the Web page
  • Name of Information Provider if you are using a journal article or other information found in any fee-based service.  Examples of this include any of the research databases or electronic journals collections provided by Ohio Wesleyan University Libraries (e.g. Periodical Abstracts, OhioLINK Electronic Journal Collection, Lexis-Nexis).

Web Citation Examples:

A Web Page
Vernal Pool.Org.  2001.  California vernal pools: a collection of 
       information and resources. 
       (accessed 3 November 2001).
Article from Online Research Database
Baskin, Yvonne.  1994.  California's ephemeral pools may be a 
        good model for speciation.  Bioscience 44: 384-388. OhioLINK,
        Electronic Journal Center (accessed 3 November 2001).

Resources for Citations

Citing Electronic Sources (from OWU Libraries)
Understanding Citations (5 Colleges of Ohio Information Literacy Tutorial)  Includes examples of many different types of items with links to labeled diagrams of actual citations.
This page prepared by
Deborah Carter Peoples
Ohio Wesleyan University Libraries
Last updated October 23, 2002
Last updated on October 23, 2002
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The information on this site is believed to be accurate but it is not guaranteed. The Ohio Wesleyan University Libraries disclaim any liability for errors or omissions.