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See our page for Citing Sources for help with specific styles (e.g. MLA, APA., etc)
So there are some fundamentals involved in citation:
You have to give credit to others for the work they've done.
The reader might want to go back and see what you've used in producing your work. Note that sometimes, YOU are the reader. In our digitally connected age, many of the electronic databases are now linking the citations in the reference lists to the full text if they have it. A handy short-cut for finding relevant info!
Therefore, all of the citation styles keep track of certain critical pieces of information:
The Author or creator
The Bigger Source (if there is one, like the name, volume, and issue of the journal that the article came from, or the title, author, and publisher of the book that the chapter was in)
Each of the different styles may also require additional elements, for example, the American Psychological Association is fond of including the D.O.I. (digital object identifier).