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Cite Your Sources
PTCC Citation Guide
A guide to citing sources in MLA and APA styles hosted by the PTCC Library.

APA Citation Quick Reference
A quick reference displaying proper APA in-text and bibliographic citations for a wide variety of source types.

Purdue APA Citation Style Guide
Online APA style guide that demonstrates how to cite a wide variety of resources.

Citation Builder
An easy to use citation generator for both APA and MLA styles.  Just enter some basic information about your resource, choose a format, and Citation Builder will create a citation for you.
Key to Icons

Restricted Resource = Restricted resource
Some full text available = Some full text
findit = OpenURL enabled
Resource contains images = Images
Resource contains video = Video files
Resource contains audio = Audio files

Find Reference Resources
Reference Resources are a good place to start researching any topic as they contain information that can get you acquainted with it quickly.  Reference resources are designed to be introductions to various topics, and thus they can be a great way of identifying key concepts associated with your theorist that you can use for further searching.  They include resources like encyclopedias, dictionaries, indexes, fact books, government statistics, and atlases. 

Search Reference Articles via the PTCC Catalog
Use this link to search across all electronic reference resources in the PTCC catalog.  Searching articles through the PTCC catalog can sometimes yield too many results, but it is the easiest and quickest way to search across all available databases.

Individual Reference Databases

Student Resources in Context
A great resource that collects information from a wide variety of formats (encyclopedias, biographical collections, academic journal articles, popular magazines, and websites) in a single place.  Topics will have a "hub" that provide an overview of the topic, followed by articles organized by resource type.

Britannica Online Academic Edition
A great resource for biographical information on your theorist, along with an overview of their lives’ work and contributions to their fields.  As a general reference, this resource will not necessarily view your theorist form the perspective of early child development.  However, it may contain valuable background information.  Each article is layed out much like Wikipedia, the major difference being that all articles are written by experts within their fields.

PTCC Print Reference Collection
The LRTC has a large number of print encyclopedias, dictionaries, and text books that can be accessed in the library.  You can locate these by searching the library's print reference collection via the link above. 
Find Books
Books are a great place to find indepth information on your theorist's ideas and how they have influenced modern perspectives on early childhood development and education.  Books will typically be devoted to a single broad theme or topic, with individual chapters dedicated to more specific aspects of that topic.  Given this, a single book may only contain a chapter or even just a few pages on your topic, but the information they contain can be very valuable.

PTCC Print and eBook Collection
Use this link to search all books in the PTCC library and in the MN State school system.

EBSCO eBook Collection
If you are off campus and need a book now, you can access PTCC's eBook collection via the above link.
Find Journal and Magazine Articles
Peer Reviewed Journal Articles contain research conducted by experts within specific subject areas, including child development and education.  Peer reviewed articles are written by experts and vetted for quality, so the information they contain is very high quality.  However, they frequently focus on one very narrow aspect of a given topic, and frequently contain subject-specific "jargon" and terminology that can be difficult to read if you are new to a topic.

Magazine Articles contain general information about topics related to a specific subject area or profession.  While many magazine articles may be written by experts within a field, they are typically written for a general audience and thus can be easier to read than

Search Journal Articles Using the PTCC Library Catalog
You can use this link to search for Magazine articles via the PTCC "Articles & More" Catalog search.  Use the "Advanced Search" function to link concepts together.  Filter by "Full-Text" to ensure that all of your results will be 

Search Magazine Articles Using the PTCC Library Catalog
You can use this link to search for Magazine articles via the PTCC "Articles & More" Catalog search.  Use the "Advanced Search" function to link concepts together.  Filter by "Full-Text" to ensure that all of your results will be 

EBSCOhost: Select all databases or choose your favorites to conduct a search of our online articles and eBooks.
Use this link to perform a search of EBSCO's general and education databases, including ERIC and Academic Search Premier.  Searching by database will yield slightly more focused results than searching by the Catalog.  Once you enter your search terms, you can use "Filter by Resource Type" tool bar on the left to select either "Journal Articles" or "Magazines."  Use the "advance search" function to link multiple Concepts together.

ERIC is the premier database of educational resources.  Searching only ERIC will yield far fewer results than either of the the above databases, but all of your results will be guaranteed to be education related.
Find Internet Resources
Internet Resources are any websites, images, video, or other content that you can access for free via search engines like Google or Bing.  Internet resources vary greatly in quality, content, and purpose, and thus extra effort must be put into verifying if the information they contain is valid.
Evaluating Internet Resources for Quality
Because anyone can create content on the internet for any number of reasons, it's very important that you evaluate an internet resource to ensure it has valid information before using it in an assignment.  The CRAAP test is a list of questions to ask about a resource.



Questions to Ask


  • When was the source written and published?
  • Has the information been updated recently?
  • Is currency pertinent to your research?
  • Are links on the website 


  • Does the source cover your research topic comprehensively or only cover one aspect?
  • To what extent does the source answer your research question?
  • Is the source considered popular or scholarly?
  • Is the terminology and language used easy to understand?
  • Is the information form the resource unique?  If not, you might consider using a non-internet resource instead.


  • Who is the author (person, company, or organization)?
  • Does the source provide any information that leads you to believe the author is credible or an expert on the topic?
  • Does the source provide contact information for the author?
  • Does the source's domain reveal anything about the source?  For example, is it a university (.edu), government website (.gov), non-profit (.org), or a commercial website (.com)?


  • Does the resource cite its sources?
  • Based on your knowledge, does the information seem accurate? 
  • Can you verify the information in other sources?
  • Are there spelling or grammatical errors?



  • What is the purpose or motive for the source (educational, commercial, entertainment, promotional, etc.)?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the author pretending to be objective, but really trying to persuade, promote or sell something?
  • Does the source seem biased?
Examples of High Quality Internet Resources
Archives are official websites dedicated to collecting the writings of and information on famous writers and theorists.  Their addresses will typically end in ".org" or ".edu."  Archives can be a great source of biographical information, photos, and information on the impact of your theorist.  Given that archives are run by experts on the theroist, they will typically contain high quality information.  While not every theorist will have an archive, some links to ones that do are listed below:

Sigmund Freud
Jean Piaget
B.F. Skinner
Lev Vygotsky
John Dewey 
Maria Montessori

Government Websites often include information written for the general public by experts.  They will typically end in ".gov." 

A Basic Introduction to Child Development Theories
A document produced by the New South Wales (Australia) government Office of Child Care that summarizes the contributions of the major child development theorists by developmental domain (Emotional, Cognitive, Physical, Language, and Social).

Institutional Websites are the websites of non-profit institutes dedicated to research or advocacy in specific areas.  Their addresses will typically end in .org, .edu, or .gov.

Childcare and Early Education Research Connections
A website produced as a partnership between several different universities with the goal of promoting high quality research in child care and early education and the use of that research in policy making.  Has a searchable library of free multimedia resources on various topics related to early childhood education, along with a searchable database of research (not all of which is freely accessible through their website).

NOTE: to search websites from different domains in Google, just add site: and then the domain you'd like to search. For example, adding "" to any search term will return only goverment websites, "" will return only non-profits, "" only academic, and etc.

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