Research and Citation | The American University of Iraq Sulaimani

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Research and Citation

The guidelines below will help you with citing your sources and providing evidence of your research. 

How do I use an outside source in my essay and not get in trouble?

The research process has four steps:

  1. Find the source: For example, BBC News, New York Times, Journal of the American Medical Association, etc.
  2. Use the source for a direct quote or indirect quote (a paraphrase).
  3. Cite the source in your essay. This is called the “In-text Citation.”
  4. List the source at the end of the essay on a separate page. This list is called the “Works Cited” or “References”. 

The important thing is that you tell the reader when you are using another person’s words or ideas. You do this twice:

Once in the text (the in-text citation) and once at the end of the essay (on the Works Cited / References page).


What is MLA? What is APA? What is CMS?

These are three different systems of using outside sources. The Modern Language Association (MLA) system is widely used in the Humanities, the American Psychological Association (APA) system is widely used in the Social Sciences, and the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) is widely used in History. In addition to showing how to use outside sources, MLA, APA, and CMS also give direction on style.

All have their own strengths and weaknesses. There is no official system used by AUIS. Ask your professor which system she or he requires for class.

Click here to view a comparison of these three systems by the Online Writing Lab of Purdue University.

Can I use an essay I already used in another class?

Ask your professor: a student must have the instructor's permission to reuse material that he or she produced in a previous course.

If a student uses outside sources in her essay, does that show that he or she does not know anything?

Absolutely not. In fact, the opposite is true. The more you use outside sources, the more you prove you have conducted extensive research. We do not expect an undergraduate student to be an expert on economics, history, biology, physics or philosophy. We expect you to find and read books, articles, and research projects that experts have produced and use that information. That is one of the most important skills that you will learn here at AUIS. Use what others have written; just make sure that you tell the reader that this is someone else’s work.