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Finding and Evaluating Web Sources: Citing Sources

This guide gives tips and tricks for finding web sources and evaluating their value for academic research.


There's a common misconception that content must be free to use if it can be found easily online.

When it comes to information used for academic research, this is not always the case. Just like any other images, words, or ideas you use to build and support your argument, you must cite your sources accurately.

Citing Tweets

Most published style guides do not include citation guidelines for social media sources. This is how some different citation styles suggest citing a source from Twitter in your bibliography.

If your citation style is not listed here, try searching its website for a Q&A section or a blog—this is typically the way they address updates, additions, or other less common style points.

Please note: The symbols <> indicate where citation information from your source should go. Anything not enclosed in those symbols is a required part of the citation.

MLA Style

<Last Name>, <First Name> (<Twitter username>). "<Entire text of tweet>." <Date of tweet>, <time of tweet>. Tweet.

Example: Athar, Sohaib (ReallyVirtual). “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” 1 May 2011, 3:58 p.m. Tweet.

APA Style

<Twitter username>. (<Year of tweet>, <month and day of tweet>). <Entire text of tweet> [Twitter post]. Retrieved from <URL of tweet>.

Example: BarackObama. (2009, July 15). Launched American Graduation Initiative to help additional 5 mill. Americans graduate college by 2020: [Twitter post]. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Per the Chicago Style blog (linked above), "in the text, you can incorporate the facts into a sentence: In a Twitter post on September 14, 2011, Garrett Kiely (@gkiely) wrote, 'Using Google, Authors Guild takes 2 mins to connect an author with an ‘orphaned work’:'"

<Author's name>, Twitter post, <Month and date, year, time of tweet>, <URL of author's Twitter feed>.

Example: Garrett Kiely, Twitter post, September 14, 2011, 8:50 a.m.,

Print Style Manuals in the Library

Print copies of the APA, MLA, and Turabian style manuals are kept at the Alkek Library Reference Desk on the 2nd floor  for quick reference. 

You can also search the Library Catalog for available copies to check out.


Publication manual of the American Psychological Association
BF76.7 .P83 2010  

Or try another book on APA Style.


MLA style manual and guide to scholarly publishing
PN147 .G444 2008


A manual for writers of research papers, theses, and dissertations
LB2369 .T8 2007 

Using a citation manager

Got a lot of resources to enter in your works cited list? Want to save time, energy, and stress? Try a citation manager software program.

RefWorks is a web-based citation manager available (for FREE!) to the campus community via the Library website. RefWorks will help you:

  • Export information about your resources directly from databases or import information from other sources
  • Organize your resources by class, assignment, or any other way you want
  • Automatically generate works cited lists and bibliographies in a variety of styles
  • And, if you're a real Refworks whiz, add formatted in-line citations to your paper while you write (using the Write-N-Cite tool)

The Library teaches workshops throughout the semester on using RefWorks. You can also schedule an hour-long Individual Research Consultation to have a librarian give you some one-on-one RefWorks pointers.

Getting more help...

If you have specific questions about citing your sources, writing tips, or help with editing, you can go to the following places on campus for more assistance.

Student Learning Assistance Center (SLAC)

Get in-person tutoring at the Student Learning Assistance Center, or SLAC, located on the 4th floor of Alkek Library. Check the website for hours and availability.

SLAC also maintains good handout page for quick reference.

Texas State University Writing Center

The Writing Center is located on the first floor of ASB North. You can get help with all types of writing, including papers, essays, and resumes.

The Writing Center offers in-person and online tutoring (check their website for more information). 

Round Rock patrons can seek assistance from the Round Rock Writing Center.