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How to Cite ( Module 2 of 4)

In this module you will find information about the importance of citing, review citation styles, learn how to build citations, and discover citation support tools.

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How To Cite

A citation is a reference to a source of information, such as a book, article, or website, used in academic or research writing. It typically includes details like the author's name, publication date, title, and source. Citing your work is crucial because it gives credit to the original authors and sources, showing that you've built your work on established knowledge. Additionally, citations lend credibility to your own research, allowing readers to verify and explore the sources you've used while demonstrating the breadth and depth of your research. Proper citations also help avoid plagiarism and maintain academic integrity.

Plagiarism can be deliberate - knowingly using someone else's work as your own. It can also be inadvertent. Sometimes plagiarism accusations are simply the result of not following a specific style properly. So, it’s important to know the citation style that your instructor wants you to use (e.g., APA, MLA, etc.). The specific citation style you are using will dictate the details.

In this module you will find:

  • Information about the importance of citing.
  • Review of various citation styles.
  • Specific examples of MLA and APA citations.
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to build citations.
  • Information on citation support tools.

Why Cite?

Why Cite?

Citing your sources lets your reader know what information you came up with yourself and what comes from someone else's work. In addition, it gives credit to the creators of the original works. Citing your sources is the best way to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism can be deliberate - knowingly using someone else's work as your own. It can also be inadvertent. Sometimes plagiarism accusations are simply the result of not following a specific style properly. Always consult your instructor or assignment guidelines to determine which citation style to use at any given time.

Why is Citing Important?

Information has value, whether it is found in books or journals or freely available on the web. People work to create it, and that work should be acknowledged. When you cite a source, you are giving credit to the original author or creator of the ideas or content you are using. This is a matter of intellectual honesty and integrity. It shows that you respect and acknowledge the work and ideas of others.

By citing, you acknowledge how other people's work, ideas, or experiences have influenced your own thinking. By acknowledging the original creators of information or ideas, we not only show appreciation for their work but also foster a sense of collaboration and community. It's a simple yet powerful way to recognize that knowledge is built upon the efforts of many, and giving credit where it's due ensures that each individual's contributions are acknowledged and valued.

Citing your sources allows others to find them and benefit from what you've learned. Proper citations also allow readers, researchers, and anyone interested to follow the path of your information and verify the sources you've used. It ensures that your claims and arguments are not taken at face value but can be scrutinized and built upon, contributing to the growth of collective knowledge, and ensuring that your information is reliable and trustworthy. In a world where information is abundant, easily accessible, and constantly evolving, clear and traceable references provide the essential roadmap for others to explore, validate, and extend the ideas and discoveries presented in your work.

Citing other people's work adds credibility and authority to your own work. It demonstrates that your arguments and claims are supported by reputable sources, which can make your writing more persuasive and trustworthy. When you attribute your information to reputable sources, you not only demonstrate that your statements are well-informed, but you also invite trust, showing that your words aren't mere opinions, but rather, they carry the weight of established knowledge. When you cite reputable sources to support your statements, you're essentially saying, "I'm not making this up; experts or credible sources back me up." This can make your argument more convincing.

Moreover, it signals to readers or audiences that we have done our due diligence, reinforcing our trustworthiness. Citing sources acts as a stamp of approval from the experts in a field, granting our work the credibility it needs to stand up to scrutiny.

Citing sources is a powerful tool for preventing plagiarism, which is the unethical practice of presenting another person's work, ideas, or words as one's own. It is not just about copying text; it's also about taking someone else's ideas or concepts without attribution.

Accurately citing other people's ideas wherever they occur in your research is the best way to avoid plagiarism. This practice distinguishes our own contributions from those of others, allowing readers or evaluators to trace the origins of the content and verify its authenticity. In essence, citing is a safeguard against plagiarism, preserving the credibility of our work while upholding the fundamental principles of academic integrity and honesty.