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Using Sources Correctly: A Checklist

Step 1:  Ask yourself the question, “Was I asked to consult outside sources in this assignment?”

If you were asked not to consult sources, are you sure no outside source influenced what you included in the assignment?

Step 2: Ask yourself, “Do I understand what plagiarism is?” and "Do I know why and when to cite sources?"

Step 3: If you were asked to use outside sources in this assignment, have you asked your Professor which documentation style he/she prefers? (Two common styles are MLA and APA.)

Step 4: Ask your Professor if he/she would like you to use the parenthetical ("in-text") reference system for the quotes within your assignment. To see examples of in-text citations, visit the Seneca Libraries Guide to Citing Sources or click on the appropriate link below:

Step 5: If you have used sources to complete your assignment, you must produce a bibliography (also called a Reference List or Works Cited).

For guidance in producing a bibliography,

  • Go to Citing (MLA, APA) on the Seneca Libraries' website
  • Select the appropriate style (MLA or APA)
  • Click on "Quick Rules for Works Cited" and "Sample Works Cited" links (in MLA) or "Quick Rules for a References list” and "Sample References list" links (in APA).

Step 6: Make sure you are clear on the College’s approach to academic honesty.

Go to and review the list of resources Seneca has available regarding proper use of sources.

Tutors in The Learning Centre are happy to help you perfect your ability to document sources properly