Reasons to Cite Sources
When you research a topic you may use information from articles, books, or the Open Web to support your ideas. Building upon the ideas and knowledge of other people is the way we as individuals build and contribute to the knowledge around us. When you integrate other peoples' ideas and work into your own, it is importent to give those authors credit for their hard work. This enables others, who see your work, to also look at those peoples' ideas that have contributed to your project. To cite means that you state where you found the information so that others can find the exact item again.
Tips for researching and citing:
Take clear, accurate notes about where you found specific ideas.
Write down the complete citation information for each item you use.
Use quotation marks when directly stating another person's words.
Always credit original authors for their information and ideas.
For more help on citing, consult this e-book: Cite right: a quick guide to citation styles -- MLA, APA, Chicago, the sciences, professions, and more
When to cite
So how do you know when to cite? A few basic rules apply.
1. If you quote a resource, cite it.
2. If you paraphrase someone else's idea or statement, cite it.
3. If you state a fact that is not common knowledge, cite it.
For example, the statement "the Internet has brought many changes to the field of journalism" does not need a citation because most people are aware of this. The statement "newspaper circulation has dropped by 20 percent because of the Internet" does need a citation because a specific fact has been stated that is not common knowledge. Furthermore, readers may want to know where this information came from so that they can evaluate it to see how reliable it is.
4. If you're unsure, cite it.
Parts of a Citation
In general, any citation will include the
- author(s) name,
- the complete title of the work,
- publication information, and
- the date of publication.
Different types of sources will dictate the inclusion of different elements in the citations. Consult the Citation Styles tab for more in-depth information.
Author(s) name. Title of book. Place of Publication [city]: Publishing company, Year. [Example of MLA Citation Style]
Author(s) name. (Year) Title of book. Place of Publication [city]: Publishing company. [Example of APA Citation Style]
Author(s) name. "Title of article." Journal / magazine / newspaper title, Volume / Issue number Date of publication: Page numbers. [Example of MLA Citation Style]
Author(s) name. (Date of publication) "Title of article." Journal / magazine / newspaper title, Volume / Issue number, Page numbers. [Example of APA Citation Style]