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.

MIT Libraries logo MIT Libraries

Search Account

2.s009: Explorations in Product Design: Citing your sources

Why Cite?

Why cite?
There are many reasons why it is important to cite the sources you use in your research - for this class, and every paper you write. Here are just a few:

  • To enable your reader/audience to locate and read any sources you used in your research. Your reader/audience may want to read other material on the same topic; your citations provide the information for him/her to track down those sources.
  • To avoid plagiarism! Any time you use the words and ideas of another person, you must cite that person's work.
  • To protect your academic reputation, and to respect academic scholarship. You want to give credit where credit is due. Citing your sources gives credit to the authors whose work you have used in your research.

How do you cite properly?
The best way to find out about citing sources and building a bibliography is to follow examples in an appropriate style manual. Ask the Communication Requirement Staff which style to use for this course.

You can also use citation management software to help you organize and cite your references. 

Tips for Citing Properly

Some tips using ASME guidelines:

Journal or Newspaper Articles

A citation to an article should include:

  • last name of each author followed by their initials
  • year of publication
  • full title of the cited article in quotes, title capitalization
  • full name of the publication in which it appears
  • volume number (if any) in boldface (Do not include the abbreviation, "Vol.")
  • issue number (if any) in parentheses (Do not include the abbreviation, “No.”)
  • inclusive page numbers of the cited article (include “pp.”)
  • Name of bibliographic database the article was found in (normally this is not required in a citation, but it is for your Treasure Hunt assignment).

Examples:

[1] Ning, X., and Lovell, M. R., 2002, “On the Sliding Friction Characteristics of Unidirectional Continuous FRP Composites,” ASME J. Tribol., 124(1), pp. 5-13.  Found in Compendex.
[2] Barnes, M., 2001, “Stresses in Solenoids,” J. Appl. Phys., 48(5), pp. 2000–2008.  Found in Inspec.

A citation to a press release or newswire report should include:

  • Author(s) of press release
  • Title of press release
  • Title of news service
  • Date of release
  • Name of bibliographic database the article was found in (normally this is not required in a citation, but it is for your Treasure Hunt assignment).

Example:

Fonte, Diwata. "Diamond Walnut Growers to Go Public Friday as Diamond Foods, Inc." Knight-Ridder Tribune Business News, (2 July 2005).  Found in LexisNexis.

Books and book chapters

A citation to a book should include:

  • last name of each author followed by their initials
  • year of publication
  • full title of the publication in italics
  • publisher
  • city of publication

Example:

Ulrich, K.T. and Eppinger, S.D., 2000, Product design and development, Irwin/McGraw-Hill, Boston MA.

A citation to a book chapter should include:

  • last name of each author followed by their initials
  • year of publication
  • full title of the publication in italics
  • publisher
  • city of publication
  • inclusive page numbers of the work being cited (include “pp.”)
  • chapter number (if any) at the end of the citation following the abbreviation, “Chap.”

Example:

Jones, J., 2000, Contact Mechanics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, Chap. 6.

Databases

Cite a database as follows:

  • Name of the database
  • URL to the database (not the long URL where you found your information)
  • Descriptive phrase or record locator (such as a data marker or accession number) indicating the part of the database being cited or explaining the nature of the reference
  • Date of access

Unified Database (Bioinformatics Unit and Genome Center, Weizmann Institute of Science), http://bioinformatics.weizmann.ac.il/udb/ (for mapping data on candidate genes; accessed July 29, 2009).

Websites

A citation to a website should provide:

  • Author's name(if available)
  • Title of document
  • URL
  • Date of access, in parentheses

 

Note: If URL is exceptionally long, provide the base URL and provide the browse/search path used.

Example:

Omega Engineering, Inc., Positioning Strain Gages to Monitor Bending, Axial, Shear, and Torsional Loads, http://www.omega.com/faq/pressure/pdf/positioning.pdf (Accessed 8/22/2012)

Patents

A citation to a patent should include:

  • Inventor(s) name
  • Year
  • Patent name/title in quotes
  • Country where patent is registered
  • Patent number

Example:

Colledge, A. L., and Johnson, H. I., 1989, “Portable Multi-Purpose Exercise Device,” U.S. Patent No. 4,856,775.

 

Standards

A citation to a standard should include:

  • Standard organization and number
  • Title
  • Year

Example:

ASTM Standard F86-13.  Standard practice for surface preparation and marking of metallic surgical implants. 2013.

More ways to get help

 

Ask Us
Ask a question, make an appointment, give feedback, or visit us.