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EMS (Emergency Medical Services)

A guide to library and internet resources for students in the Emergency Medical Services program

General Citing Information

notecards that say why cite? on them

Citing is an important part of academic writing, content creation, and daily communications.  We cite in order to:


  • track research to easily refer back to sources.
  • engage in scholarly conversation.
  • be an ethical content creator or sharer.
  • be useful to the reader or listener.
  • avoid plagiarism.


Whenever you use someone else's work or ideas.

In general, there are three ways to incorporate information from your sources into your research project:

  1. Direct Quote: uses the author's exact wording and must be a block quote or in quotations.
    • if you use the author's exact wording and do not put the quote in quotation marks, you are plagiarizing, even if you provide an in-text citation.  To avoid, just make sure to use quotation marks or use a paraphrase or summary instead.
  2. Paraphrase: one or two sentences that communicate a particular idea from the work in your words.
    • Warning: Do not just change a few words around! This is considered close paraphrasing, which is a superficial modification of the author's words.  Close paraphrasing is considered plagiarizing.  To avoid, make sure you understand what the author is saying and then re-write a few times, separately, in your own words.
  3. Summarize.
    • Three or more sentences (paragraph) in your own words that summarize the main ideas. 

Each time you have incorporated information from your sources into your paper, you need to cite the source in the following two places:

  1. Short, "in-text" citations throughout the body of the project that refer the reader to the...
  2. List of full form citations at end of the project in a bibliography.

The style guide will tell you exactly how to format each of these parts of citing, but the idea is the same across all of the styles.

APA and MLA are two of the most common style guides for academic writing and publishing, but there are MANY others (Style Guides).  We also have styles for every day citing -- think of the 'PC:@" or "camera emoji:@" in Instagram to give photo credit or think of an online article that links to other articles.  These are not the formal academic citing styles from a published style guide like MLA & APA, but they do follow an accepted social guideline for how to correctly give credit to the original creator.

Good to know:

  • Style manuals, like the APA and MLA, were developed to standardize formatting for authors publishing in that field.
  • Styles manuals can vary from general guidelines to very specific formatting rules.
  • Many Instructors will have their own particular preferences within these styles.
  • The purpose is the same.
  • Elements needed are generally the same (author, work title, publication title, date of publication, pages, specific publication information, online location).
  • Arrangement of elements and formatting are different.