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Image of letters spelling out COP, for Collect, Organize, PunctuateThree Steps to Good Citations

Think about the Citation COP

You may find yourself in a situation where you need to use more than one style manual. For example, you may need MLA Handbook for your English class, CSE for your biology class, and APA for a psychology class -- all in the same quarter! Don't panic. Using a style manual is like riding a bike: Once you understand how it works, you can ride any kind of bicycle. Once you understand how style manuals work, you'll be able to use any of them.

No matter what style manual you're using, in order to cite a source properly you need to know three things:

  1. What information should you collect to identify the source?
  2. How do you organize that information?
  3. What are the rules for punctuation and capitalization?

Style manuals provide guidance for each of the COP areas. Let's examine each area.

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