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Citing sources is an important part of academic writing. Use the links provided below to learn more about the reasons behind citing sources, and get information about how to cite your sources in various citation styles.
Why is Citing Sources Important?
- To give credit to ideas that are not your own
- To provide support for your argument/standpoint/thesis statement
- To let your reader find and access the sources you used
- To avoid Honor Code violations
What Needs to be Cited?
- The exact wording (use quotations when using exact wording from any source)
- Cite when paraphrasing and using your own words
- Cite when you are summarizing the resources with your own words
- Cite if the idea belongs to another person
- Cite if you are referring to another student's work
- Cite even you are using your own previous work
You do not need to cite common knowledge.
What's Involved in Citing Correctly?
In most citation styles, two parts are needed:
- An in-text citation
Whenever you list a resource at the end of your paper, you should cite it in the body of your paper using the appropriate style rules (parenthetical or footnote style).
- A list of works used
The final page of your paper that has the list of resources you cited or consulted. Remember every citation style has its own title for this list (Cited Works, References, Bibliography).
What Citation Style Should I Use?
Use the style recommended by your professor or choose one of the major styles below based on the discipline for your paper:
- ACS (American Chemical Society) for chemistry
- APA (American Psychological Association) for psychology and other social sciences
- CSE (Council of Science Editors) for biology
- Chicago (University of Chicago Press)
- notes and bibliography system for history, arts, and humanities
- author-date system for sciences and social sciences
- MLA (Modern Language Association) for literature, arts, and humanities
What is Common Knowledge?
Widely-known, generally-accepted information that is not attributable to one source.
- Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States. (common knowledge, no citation needed)
- Thomas Jefferson owned 5 houses, 2 cars and a boat in 1822 in x state in x city. (not common knowledge, citation needed)
What is considered common knowledge can be tricky. When in doubt, ask your professor!
Adopted from: Citing your sources: citing basics. Williams College Museum of Art. Library guide (2019).
G.R. Little Library
Elizabeth City State University