COMM 300 - Principles of Communication: Understanding & Managing Citations

The library guide supporting the Communication 300 Class: Principles of Communication

What is a Citation?

A citation gives credit to the original author(s) of a work. Citations also allow people who are reading your work to be able to find the original sources of information. 

Basic citations for a book, for example, include the name(s) of author(s) or editor(s), the title of the book, the publisher's name, the place of publication, and the most recent copyright year.

There are a number of styles that can be used to construct citations. Each style specifies the information to be included in the citation, the order of the information,the format, and the punctuation.  

Your instructor may require a particular style. If there is not an assigned style, then choose a style and be consistent with that style throughout your work.

Using Automatic Citation Generators Video

Reading an APA Citation

When reading a citation, it can be difficult to tell if the citation is for a journal article, a book, or a book chapter.  Here's an example of an article citation:

APA Article Citation

APA 7 Citation Basics for Journal Articles & Books

The primary point of a citation is to enable your reader to easily find your source. Every source cited in the text of your paper should appear in the reference list. 

Journal Article

Author, A.A. & Author, B. B. (Year). Title of article: The subtitle. Title of Journal, volume number(issue number), x-xx.

Journal Article with DOI*

Author, A.A., Author, B.B., & Author, C.C. (Year). Title of article: The subtitle. Title of Journal, volume number(issue number), x-xx.


Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of book: The subtitle. Publisher. DOI (if available)

Book Chapter

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year of publication). Title of chapter. In A. Editor & B. Editor (Eds.), Title of book (pp. x-xx). Publisher. DOI (if available)

*A DOI, or digital object identifier, is a unique number assigned to an individual electronic item, such as an online journal article. APA 7 requires a DOI for all works that have one.

Selected Online Citation Guides

Citation Generators & Software

APA Citations from PsycINFO & Google Scholar

Many databases include automatic citation generators. For example, both PsycINFO and Google Scholar provide APA formatted citations.

  • In PsycINFO, select one or more of the results, and then click "cite" on the tool bar located at the top of the list
  • In Google Scholar, click the "cite" link available under each result in Google Scholar
  • ALWAYS double-check the citations as there are often small mistakes
  • Watch the video, Using Automatic Citation Generators, to learn more

Google Scholar citation link