Why Do We Cite Our Sources?
By citing your sources you:
- Give credit to others for their ideas (avoid plagiarism)
- Demonstrate to your reader how your own ideas stem from, differ from, or relate to those in your sources
- Distinguish your ideas from the ideas of others
- Lend credibility to your own work by citing credible sources
- Assist your reader, who may want to find the sources that you used
When To Cite Your Sources
You must provide a citation when:
- Quoting directly from a source (copying the words of another)
- Paraphrasing ideas or information from a source (rewriting a passage in your own words)
- Incorporating into your paper information or ideas that are not general knowledge
What's In A Citation
Citations at the end of your paper should always tell you:
- Who wrote the source? Who is the author, editor, artist, or organization behind the work? For a book, the citation will also include information about who published the source.
- What is it called? What is the title of the book, article, website, photograph, etc.?
- When was the source was published? What is the date of publication?
- Where can your reader find the source? For a journal article, what journal is published in? For online sources, what is the URL or DOI (digital object identifier)?
Citation styles vary in how they present this information, but generally, these elements are always included.