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Social Sciences Research

Learn tools and tips for conducting research in the social sciences

Tips for Citing Sources

Collect the Information You Need

It's important to make sure you collect all the information you need to cite a source as you gather your information so that you won't need to look it up again, so:

  • Take clear, accurate notes about where you found specific ideas
  • Write down the complete citation information for each book, article, etc. you use as you go along
  • Use quotation marks when directly stating another person's words
  • Always credit original authors for their information and ideas


Keep Track of Information About Your Sources

As you explore your topic, you'll discover and read information from many different sources. With each new source, you'll need to decide if you want to use it. To help you make this decision, you'll ask yourself questions about the source like:

  • Who is the author of this source?
  • What is the title of the source?
  • How was the source published?
  • Where did I find this source?
  • When was the source published?

Each of these elements (author, title, publisher, location, publication date) will become part of your citation. As you work, you'll want to keep track of each of these elements so that creating your citations will be easier.

Why Does Citing Sources Matter?

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 source. It also helps earn your readers' trust because you're telling your readers the source of your facts so that they can confirm them for themselves
  • It helps you avoid plagiarism

Watch this short video from The Learning Portal to learn why you cite and when you cite. Watch, Learn, and Enjoy!


 

What Do You Cite?

What Do You Cite?

Cite all outside sources you use in your research paper! Citing is required for sources you:

Quote word-for-word,

Paraphrase (rewrite using your own words), and

Summarize (rewrite the main concept or idea in your own words).
 

How Citation Style Affects Your Paper:

No matter which citation style you use, you need to cite your sources within the body of your paper where you incorporate your outside sources (in-text citations) and in your cumulative list of sources at the end of your paper (Works Cited, References, or Bibliography)

Citation Styles

Your instructor should tell you which citation style they want you to use. Click on the appropriate link below to learn how to format your paper and cite your sources according to a particular style.