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Citing Sources   Tags: apa, chicago, citation, citing, help, mla, sources  

Avoid plagiarism. Learn why it's so important to cite your sources and learn how to cite them. Get tips on citing MLA, APA, Chicago and other citation styles
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Citing Basics Print Page

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Why Cite Your Sources?

When you write a research paper, you use information and facts from a variety of resources to support your own ideas or to help you develop new ones. Books, articles, videos, interviews, and Web sites are some examples of sources you might use. Citing these sources of information in your work is essential because:

  • It gives credit to the author of the original work who provided you with the information or idea

  • It allows your audience to identify and find the source material in order to learn more about your topic

  • It gives your paper more credibility because it shows you're supporting your arguments with high-quality sources

Citation Style Affects Your Paper in Three Places

Whenever you use a citation style (ANY citation style!) you will be governed by that style in three ways:

  1. The general format of the paper. This includes margins, font, page numbers, line spacing, titles, headings, etc.

  2. The bibliography. The bibliography is the cumulative list of all sources used in your research. 

  3. In-text citation. Citing sources within the body of your paper lets your reader know you are incorporating someone else's words/research/ideas.

Accuracy & Precision

Citation styles present researchers with a set of strict rules....not vague guidelines. Accuracy and precision are vital to the citation process. Always check your work carefully to ensure you've followed all conventions, including font styles, capitalization, punctuation, alphabetization, and format concerns.


Citing Sources Matters

This three-minute video from The Harness Library illustrates why it's important for you to cite your sources. Watch, Learn, and Enjoy!


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