Cookie Policy

This site uses browser cookies to provide a better user experience and to track certain data that will help us identify user behaviour in order to further improve the site. By using the site you are agreeing to this policy. Find out more

Guide to Writing Styles and Citing Sources


Once you put your research on paper, you must cite the sources of information (books, journal articles, www documents) that you have consulted during the course of your theses/research project. This is essential, in order to give credit to ideas and quotations used from other people's work and to allow your readers to retrieve references and find further information about the topic.

There are two steps you need to take in documenting the sources you have used:

  • Citing sources within the text of your paper
  • Providing a list at the end of your work using a reference list or bibliography.


If you do not acknowledge sources, you can be accused of plagiarism. Plagiarism is defined as ‘the use of intellectual material produced by another person without acknowledging its source’.Please take the library plagiarism tutorial to help you understand plagiarism, its nature and consequences and how best to avoid it.

Citing sources

When citing your sources and compiling your bibliography there are several different "styles" from which you can choose.

What Style should you use?

Style manuals

Often the style you choose might depend on the style your lecturer prefers or the discipline in which you are studying. You need to determine which style is preferred for your bibliography. It is important to check with your lecturer/department to find out what their recommended citation style is. Whatever style you choose it is important that your are accurate and consistent throughout your paper.

Style manuals provide guidelines for how to cite sources used in your theses/research paper. These guides also give background information on other elements of style such as proper page layout, punctuation, quotations, etc. The styles most often used are Harvard, APA, MLA and Turabian/Chicago.

  • Harvard Style

    Widely accepted form used in the business and social science fields.
    Guide to the Harvard Style
  • APA

    (American Psychological Association): this style is used in psychology, education, and other social sciences.
  • MLA

    (Modern Languages Association of America) : generally use this style for literature, arts, and humanities.
  • Turabian / Chicago

    Comprehensive style manual, containing standards for documentation of sources in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.

If you do not find an example that fits your needs, please ask a Librarian who can help you locate an appropriate form.

Citing electronic sources of information

Electronic Sources you may wish to cite in your book or research paper may include ftp sites, telnet addresses, WWW and gopher pages, newsgroup and discussion list postings, and e-mail messages. Be aware of the changing nature of electronic information - In citing these web resources, it is important that during the course of your research you make a note of the URL of the document you used to access information and of your access date.

Citation formats for Internet resources are still in development and no standard method for citing electronic sources of information has yet been agreed upon. The following books and websites sites do however provide guidelines on electronic citation styles from a variety of sources.

Useful Books

Useful web sites

Quick Links

  • Synergy Centre at ITT Dublin
  • QQI Brand Logo
  • Member of the Technological University for Dublin Alliance