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Why Citations Matter

Why Citations Matter video (requires BU login)

Parts of a Citation

There are hundreds of citation styles that all express the same information in various orders and formats. There are tools that help with the specifics of citations but it is important, and beneficial, to know what it is that makes up the citation. 

The two parts of every citation style:

  1. In-text citation. Every piece of information that is cited has an indication that it is being cited. This is most often seen as either a small number or as a name and date in parenthesis. This information tells the reader/viewer where to look for the source of the cited information. 
  2. Bibliography/Reference List entry. At the end of every work is a list of all the items cited throughout that work. This list is where all the descriptive information is found that will help the reader/viewer find the source. 

Both of these parts need to be present to have an adequate citation. The bibliography entry is often the most complicated and where the majority of differences between citation styles occur. Almost all styles are made up of the same components:

  • Title of the specific work
    • Article title, book chapter title, title of art piece, etc.
  • Title of the larger piece of work
    • Journal title, book title, newspaper name, etc.
  • Creator/Author/Editor
    • Who created the work? 
  • Publisher and publisher location
  • Date the work was published
  • Additional identifying information
    • For articles this includes issue and volume number. For articles and book chapters you also need page numbers.
  • Location information for online material
    • This includes URL's (necessary for websites) and DOI's (for online articles)


Below are a couple examples of bibliography entries in APA style. Different styles will have the same components, just in different orders and different uses of parenthesis, quotations, and punctuation.

Example Citation

Below is an example of a journal cited in APA 7. There are many things to consider including number of authors, type of item being cited, where you found it, etc. Check out the APA guide from the Libraries or use some of the resources on the left (above if on mobile) for more help.

This video takes you through citing a journal article in APA. It is covering APA 6 but everything is the same for 7 EXCEPT the DOI and URL information. If using a DOI, put it in as https://doi/org/number NOT as doi:. If there is no DOI and you are using a URL, DO NOT put in "Retrieved from." Just put the URL in. 

14b - APA from Joshua Vossler on Vimeo.


Citing LexiComp and Facts & Comparisons


Name of monograph, specific topic or chart. Specific database. Lexicomp. Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Riverwoods, IL. Available at: Accessed Month day, year.


Methimazole. Lexi-Drugs. Lexicomp. Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Riverwoods, IL.  Available at:  Accessed September 15, 2017.

MethimazoleDrug Facts and Comparisons. Facts & Comparisons eAnswersWolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Riverwoods, IL.  Available at:  Accessed September 15, 2017.

Citation Tools

Citation/Reference management tools are incredibly helpful! Not only do they help you keep all of your research organized and in one place, they help you write your citations! Below are a few options to chose from. They all work about the same so use whichever you personally prefer.

  • EndNote is another popular tool, especially in the sciences. However, it is pricey. It is good to be aware of, but most likely not necessary unless you already have a preference for it. There is also a free version, EndNote Basic which is not as robust, but is free.
  • Zotero and Mendeley are both quality free options.

If you need assistance with any of these, just ask!

In addition, there are various websites that will take the components of a citation and put it in the appropriate format for the style you need. A couple examples include: Citation MachineEasyBib, and BibMe.