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Citations and References: Home

Citations are when you refer the reader to the source of the information you are Quoting, paraphrasing or summarizing. These generally take the form of in-text citations, but can also be footnotes or endnotes in certain referencing styles.

References are found in the list of works you have cited: Reference List, Works Cited List of Bibliography. This list is always found at the end of your work.

There are 3 main Referencing Styles used at NIST International School:

MLA9 / APA / Chicago

The information found on these pages are designed to help you with the basics for citations and referencing using these three Referencing Styles. Your teachers will tell you which style is appropriate for each subject or task, however this is a rough guide for which styles work best for certain subject areas:

  • MLA9 - Language, Literature, Philosophy, Theatre, IAS
  • APA - Business, Education, Psychology, Sciences
  • Chicago - Art, Computer Sciences, History, Music, Business Studies

Each Reference Style has it's own pages, accessed through the tabs at the top of this page.

According to the IB

“Proper citation is a key element in academic scholarship and intellectual exchange. When we cite we:

  • show respect for the work of others
  • help a reader to distinguish our work from the work of others who have contributed to our work
  • give the reader the opportunity to check the validity of our use of other people’s work
  • give the reader the opportunity to follow up our references, out of interest
  • show and receive proper credit for our research process
  • demonstrate that we are able to use reliable sources and critically assess them to support our work
  • establish the credibility and authority of our knowledge and ideas
  • demonstrate that we are able to draw our own conclusions
  • share the blame (if we get it wrong)” (“Effective Citing and Referencing.”, 2)


Quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing are three main ways to fairly and honestly include, integrate and refer to others’ work within your own. In other words – great ways to avoid plagiarism!


Quoting is reproducing an author’s words from a source – the exact wording, spelling, punctuation etc. This adds emphasis and weight to an argument.

To correctly integrate a quote you should:

  • Use a signal phrase to indicate that a quote is being used. For example:
    • According to Jones…
  • Providing commentary or further exploring the quote.
  • Include quotation marks.
  • Cite and reference it in the appropriate style.


A resource tracker is a data grid that enables you to collect and sort the details of your resources as you find them. They can also be used for note taking and organization.

We highly recommend that you use this NIST Resource Tracker.


Copyright laws change from country to country and can be very confusing.

Even though you are still at school, copyright law can still affect you in the future. Schools are governed by the “fair use” rule, however these 5 rules will help you:

  1. Just because you found it online does not mean it’s free to use – even for teachers and students
  2. Many resources you can use freely – look for materials that have a Creative Commons license or is in the public domain (no longer subject to copyright)
  3. Every creator has the right to have their work and ideas protected from copying
  4. If you’re not sure, ask the creator for permission, find a free alternative, make your own material, or purchase an alternative that has the usage rights you are after.
  5. Don’t look for loopholes or dodges. Consider whether you’re being the most responsible and ethical digital citizen you can be (Morris)

For more information about copyright, go to this website.


Paraphrasing is incorporating ideas from another source using your own words. This enables you to demonstrate your understanding and interpretation of the original idea in relation to your topic.

To correctly paraphrase you should:

  • Rewrite, reorder, rephrase and underline key points from the original source
  • Use a signal phrase to indicate you have incorporated work from another source. For example:
    • Jones states … As indicated by Jones…
  • Cite and Reference in the appropriate style.


Summarizing is expressing the main ideas and concepts from another source, without including details. Summaries are short and concise.

To correctly summarize you should:

  • Use signal phrases to remind the reader that you are referring to someone else’s work. For example:
    • Jones states… Jones further indicates…
  • Cite and reference in the appropriate style

Online Referencing Tools