Research Tips


Crediting your resources

Resources, citationsreferencesfootnotes, or bibliographies give credit to the sources used in an assignment, project, or written work.


A citation tells your readers where you got the information you used in your paper, project, or presentation.

Why cite your sources:

  • Citing your sources makes your paper look stronger, more scholarly, and more reliable.
  • Citations give credit to the original author of the quotation or the idea.
  • Citations allow your readers to find the resources you used in your research.

When to cite your sources:

  • When you include the exact words or paraphrase the words of another author.
  • When you use or summarize the ideas of another author.

How to cite your sources:

  • There are several styles used to cite sources. They all do the same thing. The difference is in the formatting (where to put the italics, parentheses, quotation marks, abbreviations, etc.).
  • Some common citation styles are Harvard, MLA, and APA. Different teachers and various professions require a particular citation style. If your teacher requires a particular citation style, please see “Helpful websites” below.
  • If your teacher does not require a particular citation style, you may use the simple citation style below.

Citing sources “in text”

If you use a direct quote, paraphrase, or the ideas of another author, you should cite that author within your project, presentation, or paper. This is known as an “in text” citation. Example of an in text citation using APA citation style:

George and Harold were stunned to see “a pudgy old guy in his underwear with a red cape flowing behind him” (Pilkey, 1997, p. 61).

  • Pilkey is the surname of the author
  • 1997 is the year of publication
  • p. 61 is the page on which the quotation can be found

Simple citation style for students

If your teacher does not specify which citation style to use, you may use the following simple citation style for assignments at school. (IB students should check with supervisors about which citation style to use.)

  • Book:

    Author, A. (Year of publication). Title of Book. Publisher.

  • Periodical:

    Author, A. (Year of publication). Title of article. Title of the Periodical.

  • Website:

    Author, A. (Year of publication if available). Title of the article or web page. Name of the website. https://url_of_the_webpage

    If no author is found:

    Title of the article or web page (Year of publication if available). Name of the website. https://url_of_the_webpage

  • Article from Encyclopaedia Britannica Online:

    Title of the article (Year of publication if available). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. http://url_of_the_article

Reference list

At the end of your project, presentation, or paper, you should provide a list of the resources in which you found your information. The list should be in alphabetical order. It should look something like this:


Bland, B. (1998). The Most Boring Thoughts in the World. Boring Publications.

Dull, D. (2005). The history of boredom. Journal of the Boring Society.

Tedious, T. (2012). A boring journey into the dullest events ever. Tedium Medium.

The least interesting people ever (2016). Average Joes.!symbols

Wearisome words (2017). Encyclopaedia Britannica.*of$the+url=of%the$article


A bibliography is different from a reference list. A bibliography is a list of all the sources you read to prepare you for your paper, whether or not you cited them in your paper.


Your teacher may allow you to use pictures, graphics, images, clip art, or photos that you find online. You must give credit to the creators of these materials. Here is a format you can use:

  • Title or description of the image [online image]. https://www.webpage_where_you_retrieved_the_image

At the end of your project, presentation, or assignment, you should provide a list of image credits. It should appear after the Resource list. It may look something like this:

Image Credits

Winnie the Pooh [online image].

The most delicious types of honey [online bar graph].

Honey Bee [online clip art].

The joys of beekeeping [online video].!of#other$random%letters&and*symbols

Helpful websites

cite this for me

CiteThisForMe: Automatically create bibliographies, citations, and works cited lists in the correct format using the APA, MLA, Chicago, Vancouver, or Harvard referencing styles.


EasyBib: Automatic citation and bibliography formatting.

purdue owl

Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL): Writing help for students in Years 7-13. Covers all aspects of the creative and academic writing process.

Help sheets

Download these PDFs of Year group lessons.

Year 12: Library website, JSTOR, Google search techniques

Year 13: Citing sources, Extended Essay support

Spotting fake news

Don’t be fooled! Think critically about the news you read.

fake news

Evaluating online resources

Use the CARS checklist to evaluate internet resources:

  • Credibility
  • Accuracy
  • Reasonableness
  • Support

Using Wikipedia wisely

  • Wikipedia is a good resource for general information and for hyperlinks to more in-depth resources.
  • Usually, research requires additional resources. Try the school library’s collection or some of the free internet resources on this website.
  • Double check the accuracy of Wikipedia information by locating the same information in at least one other reliable resource.

Google Scholar search