Skip to Main Content

Social & Decision Sciences: 88-252 Causal Inference in the Field : Citing sources

This research guide provides links, information and resources for the causal inference course in Social & Decision Sciences. Please reach out to the Libraries if you have questions about using these resources.

Practice Safe Writing!

Citing the works of authors that you use to form your own research is a critical part of the writing and research process. Citation provides evidence to back up our own ideas and statement. It demonstrates where our work fits into the greater body of knowledge.  And it gives proper credit where credit is due. 

Read these safe practices to avoid accidental plagiarism and check out these paraphrasing techniques.

CMU's University Policy on Academic Integrity

Get writing help from the Student Academic Success Center.

In-Depth Style Guides

Purdue OWL logo

The Purdue Online Writing Lab including guides to APA, MLA and Chicago Styles

Legal Information Institute Logo
The Legal Information Institute provides this overview of basic legal citation.


EasyBib Logo

Citation guides by EasyBib for MLA, APA and Chicago styles

Saving time in citing sources

Clock faceHow to save time in citing sources

In the process of doing research, you will encounter a multitude of resources including books, articles, and websites.  Keeping all of these organized as you progress, and ultimately creating a bibliography using a particular citation style can be a daunting and time-consuming task. 

But no fear, citation management help is here!  With a relatively easy-to-use tool, you will be able to organize and save the resources you find.  And with virtually the click of a button, you will be able to generate bibliographies in nearly any citation style.

There are a number of citation management tools available to CMU students and compatible with many of the databases you'll be using.  Visit the citation management research guide to get started.  It only takes a few minutes to set up an account with such tools as Zotero and Mendeley

To learn how to use these and other citation management tools, check our library workshops page for upcoming workshops.

Image credit:  Tony Hammon, from Flickr at



Zotero logo


Zotero is a popular free open source citation management tool that makes saving and citing online resources, including websites, YouTube videos, news articles, and scholarly database results, a breeze. Some of Zotero's strengths include its ability to capture a multitude of resource types with the click of a button, and its group library function, with no limit on group membership.  For more about Zotero, see this guide.

Citing Data

Citing data in your writing, posters, and presentations is an important step in providing credit to the data producer, but also allowing readers to better understand your findings and research and to build on your work by using the same data to answer different questions.

The elements that should be included in a complete citation of data are:

  • Author(s)
  • Title
  • Year of publication
  • Publisher or distributor
  • URL, identifier, or other access location


Many sources of data provide examples of citations in different citation styles to make citing those sources easy. In other cases, you'll have to create the citation yourself, depending on the citation style you're using.  Here is a quick guide to citing data in different citation styles:

Link to the Quick Guide to Data Citation
Data Citation Quick Guide Header


Dataset citation example in APA

Data set citation example provided from APA


O’Donohue, W. (2017). Content analysis of undergraduate psychology textbooks (ICPSR 21600; Version V1) [Data set]. ICPSR.


  • Parenthetical citation: (O’Donohue, 2017)

  • Narrative citation: O’Donohue (2017) 


Testing your paraphrasing knowledge

Avoiding accidental plagiarism by properly paraphrasing, quoting and citing other resources is a critical skill for anyone producing content for the web. The following set of slides provides examples of incorrect and correct methods of using other sources. Press the Play button on the slide deck below and then advance the slides using the up and down arrow keys on your keyboard.