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Read a citation

When you are supplied a citation for an article, book, or other source in a bibliography or your professor's syllabus, you'll need to parse and understand the parts of that citation to be able to find it.

Book

Reardon, D. (2006). Doing your undergraduate project. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Incorporated.

  • Author: D. Reardon
  • Publication date: 2006
  • Title: Doing your undergraduate project
  • Place of publication: Thousand Oaks, CA
  • Publisher: Sage Publications, Incorporated
  • Platform: an ebook might list the platform or database that hosts it

How do we know this is a book?

The place of publication and publisher's name is the giveaway. Also notice there is a single title (articles will have two) and a lack of page numbers (though in-text citations will often supply a specific page number or range).

Journal article

Shaw, K., Holbrook, A., & Bourke, S. (2013). Student experience of final-year undergraduate research projects: An exploration of research preparedness. Studies in Higher Education, 38(5), 711-727. doi:10.1080/03075079.2011.592937

  • Authors: K. Shaw, A. Holbrook, and S. Bourke
  • Publication date: 2013
  • Article title: Student experience of final-year undergraduate research projects: An exploration of research preparedness
  • Journal title: Studies in Higher Education
  • Volume number: 38
  • Issue number: 5
  • Page range: 711-727
  • Digital object identifier: 10.1080/03075079.2011.592937 (not all articles have DOIs)

How do we know this is a journal article?

The appearance of two titles (article and journal), plus the volume and issue numbers show this is a journal article. Sometimes the date will include a month or season. The article title may appear in quotes. In place of the DOI, some citation styles list the source database where the article was accessed.

Newspaper article

Area MU students among participants in undergraduate research day. (2012). The Charleston Gazette, pp. 10.

  • Author: none listed (not all newspaper articles list an author)
  • Publication date: 2012
  • Article title: Area MU students among participants in undergraduate research day
  • Newspaper title: The Charleston Gazette
  • Page: 10 (some newspapers will list a section with the page number: pp. A10)

How do we know this is a newspaper article?

The two titles and the lack of volume and issue numbers are the best clue here (plus common newspaper titles terms like Times, Record, Dispatch, Enquirer, Herald, Courier, and here, Gazette).

Conference proceeding paper

Wong, W. E. (2012). Involving undergraduates in research: Motivations and challenges. 2012 IEEE 25th Conference on Software Engineering Education and Training, Nanjing, China. 148-148. doi:10.1109/CSEET.2012.35

  • Author of paper: W. E. Wong
  • Date of conference: 2012
  • Paper title: Involving undergraduates in research: Motivations and challenges
  • Conference proceeding title: 2012 IEEE 25th Conference on Software Engineering Education and Training
  • Conference location: Nanjing, China
  • Page range: 148-148 (this is a one page paper)
  • Digital object identifier: 10.1109/CSEET.2012.35 (if there's no DOI, the citation can list the publisher site or database where the conference paper was accessed)

How do we know this is a conference proceeding?

Conference papers can be difficult to find, since the title of the publication in which they are found (the proceedings) can be referred to in many ways: name of the conference, sponsor of the conference, location of the conference, topic of the conference, etc. Here, the two titles (paper and proceedings) plus the location of the conference are the clues (having the word conference or proceedings in the title helps too).



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