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Writers' Center

Eastern Washington University

Using Sources and Citation Styles (MLA and APA)

Tips for documenting your sources

How Do I tell What Type of Source I Have?

For many students, one of the biggest challenges in properly citing sources is determining the type of source they are citing. Even with a  style guide like an APA or MLA manual, it can be difficult to determine which citation applies to the source you are trying to cite. This is especially true with web-based sources, where blogs, webpages, websites, and articles can look very similar but require different citations. This page is designed to help you classify the type of source you have so you can choose the correct citation for your reference list.

Websites vs. Webpages

Students often ask what the difference is between websites and webpages. Websites refer to a collection of pages that exists under one name or company on the web. You cite a website when you are referencing the entire collection, not an individual section of that site. So, for example, if you were to cite the Purdue OWL as a website, you would be refering to the entire collection of material that is on the Purdue OWL website, not an individual page:


In contrast, a webpage is an individual page that exists as part of a bigger website. It is more common to cite a webpage than a website, and you will cite a webpage any time you quote or paraphrase information that is found in a specific location on a website. So, for example, if you are citing the APA syle guide located on the Purdue Owl website, you would use the citation rules for a webpage:


Blogs vs. Articles

A blog is a personal/company website that is updated frequently and displays personal opinion or routinely links to other sources. To identify a blog, look for the presence of multiple posts and information that is personal, anecdotal, or opinion-based. Blogs can also be hosted on parent websites (Weebly, Wordpress, Blogger), so look in the upper left or at the bottom of the page for any indication the page is hosted by a different website. Finally, blogs are only published online. Below is an example of a blog about APA Style:


In contrast, an article is a source that is often found both in print and online. Articles will always have an author and date of publication listed. Additionally, they usually try to present information objectively and cite sources for quotations, statistics, or referenced information. Below is an example of an article: