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Hennings - Blackworm Inquiry Project: Citing Sources

Why Do We Cite?

Why Do We Cite?

Citation acknowledges any source that has directly influenced your language, ideas, or arguments. You should cite not only what you quote, but also what you paraphrase. Putting an idea or argument into your own words may modify it, but does not make you the sole author.

In addition to giving due credit, citation allows your readers to locate your sources. Most formal writing is a dialogue with others who have addressed the same topic, and your reader needs to know who they are and where, exactly, you have encountered their ideas.

Also, if you don't cite, you'll be guilty of plagiarism and punished.


How to Cite:

The primary rule of good citation is to provide enough information so that readers can find the source themselves, if so inclined.

It is important to keep track of where your information comes from during the writing process. When you consult a source, make sure that you write down the complete bibliographic information, which typically includes:

  • author
  • title
  • publication or publisher
  • date
  • volume and issue numbers (if a scholarly journal)
  • page numbers

Different Styles:

APA Style

Created by the American Psychological Association, this style is commonly used in the social sciences. It uses in-text or parenthetical citations.


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