Handling Citation Questions: Go Deeper


Depending on the time available with the student and your level of comfort with a citation question, you may wish to apply the following best practices in your chats.

Point Students to Reliable Citation Guides and Websites

  • If the institutional citation guide does not include rules or examples that address the student’s specific citation question, point them to reliable guides and websites.
  • Questions to help you determine if a guide is appropriate:
    • Is it published by an academic institution or organization?
    • Does it use the most recent version of the citation style?
    • Has it been updated recently?
    • Is it clearly laid out and easy to navigate?
  • See Appendix 1 for a list of recommended citation guides.

Teach Students How to Find and Use Citation Guides

  • Teach students “how to fish” by showing them how to find, evaluate, and use citation guides and websites with confidence.
  • In addition to sending a link to a guide, explain how you found it and why you chose it.
  • When referring to guides and websites, provide the page number or section heading to help students find the relevant rule or example themselves.
  • Point students to the guide’s navigation menu so they can find examples for other types of resources.
  • Encourage them to bookmark the guide, especially if they will be using the style often.

Teach Students the Parts of a Citation

  • Take advantage of teachable moments to explain citation guidelines and to define the parts of a citation.
    • For example, you may need to familiarize them with DOI numbers.