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MLA & APA Citation Guides: APA Citation Home

We’ve designed this guide to explain: • What citations are • How you use them in your written assignments • Why it’s important to use them • How they are formatted

What does a paper look like with in-text citations and Works Cited full citations? Scroll down the paper below to see.

In Other Words

Look over the paper above again. There are so many in-text citations, that it seems the writer included very few of his own ideas.

You're basically piecing together parts of others' reaearch into  your own words to write your paper, and  you're going to cite, "Who said?"

For present purposes, 90% or more of your research paper should not be your ideas.*  You’re not writing an opinion paper. You’re expected to have referenced expert opinions in the field throughout your paper to prove your main idea, your thesis. 


*In most instances, only your thesis statement and your conclusion(s) are not cited. 

The citations in the sample paper are formatted using APA, so called because it is a citation standard developed and maintained by the American Psychological Association.

Each in-text citation (the short ones in parentheses) is color coded to match its corresponding full citation on the References page.

The link below is to a PDF file of the sample paper above.

Compare and Understand

To demonstrate how the Citation Style does not affect the actual content of the paper, keep your APA Sample Paper open. Now go back to the first Tab or Page in this guide. Scroll down to the sample MLA paper file. Open it or print it so that you can do  a side-by-side comparison of the two. Look beyond the formatting and what do you see? 

Other than the title page of the APA paper, the content of the two is identical, word for word. 

In other words, the citation format of a paper doesn't affect any content of the paper. The only difference the citations look. A a side-by-side comparison reveals the same authors, the same articles, etc. It's like you have the same piece of candy but in two different wrappers.  

The wrapper doesn't affect the ingredients or taste of the candy. It's only a matter of different looking wrappers. Some teachers prefer one wrapper; some prefer the other. 

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