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Citation Help

In academic writing it is important to cite resources you consult. This guide will overview the process for various types of resources and introduce you to software programs that can help with the process.


“What if citations offer advice? What if citations are suggestions for living differently? What if some citations counsel how to refuse what they think we are?” [1]


Have you ever cited the first page of a book or an article without reading the rest? The introduction? The conclusion? Have you ever cited a source that someone else cited without citing how you found that source? Have you cited something because you thought it would look cool in your bibliography? 


We all have. These questions are an invitation to be reflective about all the normal, common citation practices we all participate in and how, in some cases, those practices may be insufficient or harmful. It's important to consider context.


In her book Dear Science and Other Stories, Katherine McKittrick wants us to think about citation in terms beyond what she calls “quotable value.” [2] In other words, clout or name dropping. For McKittrick, knowledge or ideas are not something that we or anyone else owns. You can find the ebook version or the physical version of this text in the catalog. 


As McKittrick puts it, “referencing is hard.” [3] Referencing, a term which she borrows from black studies, moves past citation as merely giving credit. Instead, referencing is a process of collaboration and conversation, demonstrating how we come to know rather than asserting what we know. Referencing is not allusion. Referencing requires a robust, thorough engagement with the work you cite. To be cliché, referencing is about the journey, not the destination.  



  • Referencing is a methodology
  • Referencing isn’t about inclusion or exclusion
  • Referencing is more than naming
  • Referencing is more than referring to



  • How did the author reach their conclusions? 
  • Who are they citing?
  • How did you find this source? 
  • How is your methodology similar to or different from the sources you’re citing?


“The works cited, all of them, when understood as in conversation with each other, demonstrate an interconnected story that resists oppression. We do not have to agree with all the works in the works cited. We do not have to like all of the works in the works cited. We do have to trust that the works in the works cited are helping us understand and talk about and theorize how to know the world differently. The praxis, then, is not about who belongs and who does not belong in the index or the endnotes; rather, it is about how we, collectively, are working against racial apartheid and different kinds and types of violence.” [4]

[1]  Katherine McKittrick, Dear Science and Other Stories, Errantries (Durham: Duke University Press, 2021), p. 19.

[2]  McKittrick, Dear Science and Other Stories, p. 26.

[3]  McKittrick, Dear Science and Other Stories, p. 34.

[4]  McKittrick, Dear Science and Other Stories, p. 28.