Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Early Childhood Education: Cite Your Sources

General subject guide for Early Childhood Education Research

Automatic Citation Generator


Access online tutorials using the links below:

Quick Guides: APA and MLA

Citation Quick Guides

Citation Alternative: WHO WHAT WHERE WHY Formula for Crediting Sources

If your instructor allows you the option of NOT following one of the traditional citation styles (APA, MLA...etc.), you still need to give credit to the sources you use.

One approach:


When you credit a source (usually at the end of your project or essay) include as much of the information below as relevant, but at minimum, make sure to include *WHO and *WHERE:

  • *WHO is responsible for the information or content?
    • Provide the name of specific people or the name of the organization or group responsible
    • Provide an indication of their credibility: their authority, background or experience
  • WHAT are you crediting? (this is optional to include)
    • If possible, provide the type: is it a book, a website, a speech, a blog, a video...etc.
  • *WHERE can this information be found?
    • If digital, provide the website address
    • If not digital, provide the name of the source
  • WHEN was the information created? (this is optional to include)
    • If relevant (if date is important to your audience or to locate your source)
examples of crediting using the WHO WHAT WHERE WHEN Formula
  *WHO WHAT (optional) *WHERE


  Raúl Marrero-Fente, Latin American studies professor in his book Coloniality, Religion and the Law in the Early Iberian World in 2014
  Robin Wall Kimmerer, botanist and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation in a speech on
  Teddy "Stat" Phillips, Black Lives Matter activist   in
  Yamiche Alcindor, award-winning news correspondent in an interview on the PBS News Hour television program

May 4, 2021

  the National Association for the Education of Young Children   from
  Casa Latina, a 30-year-old immigrant advocacy organization in their blog  


Citations: The How and Why of Citing Sources

What are Citations?

Citation Basics

Review the list and image below, which both outline how the in-text citation in your essay connects to the larger reference page of your work. 

(click on image to enlarge)

An image of how an in-text citation goes hand in hand with a reference list

(click on image to enlarge)

  1. Place in-text citations in the body of the paper to acknowledge the source of your information.  This is meant to be a shortened version of the full citation that appears on the final page of your paper.
  2. Place full citations for all your sources on the last page entitled References or Works Cited (different citation styles require different titles).  Full citations are meant to provide readers with enough information so that they can locate the source themselves.
  3. APA or MLA are citation styles.  Each has different guidelines for how source information (author, title, year...etc.) should be formatted and punctuated for both in-text citations and for the References or Works Cited pages
Consult a guide for the specific citation style you are using:

Why Cite Sources?

Why Cite Sources?

Avoid Plagiarizing: You must cite any direct quotation, summary, or paraphrase of any idea or fact from your research. Citing sources is giving credit to the original author and publication where you found the information. Not citing sources is plagiarism and you may be subject to academic discipline.

Lend Authority to Your Paper: By referencing the work of scholars, professionals, and individuals with lived experiences around a topic, you demonstrate that your own research is based on solid, reliable information and that you are capable of critical thinking by being able to synthesize that research into your own.

Provide a Path: By citing sources, you provide the information that readers of your essay or presentation need in order to locate the same sources that you did.

Acknowledge Other's Work: Part of your research is built upon the research of other people. In the scholarship tradition in the United States, it is considered respectful and fair to give them credit for their hard work (just as you might hope someone would give you credit if they were quoting your own work!)