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HOW TO: Cite Sources: Overview

This guide provides information about what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. It also includes links to help you with MLA and APA citation format.

Why Cite Sources?

Each and every time information is taken from a source (whether it is taken as an exact quote, re-worded, or paraphrased) and used in a research project, credit must be given to the original source of information.  Typically, that is done in two ways:

  • parenthetical, or in-text citations provide a brief notation of the author, date and/or page number
  • lists of references, or works-cited provide complete publication or other information that would allow the reader to locate the complete source

Most research projects require both in-text citations and a list of works cited at the end of the project.

What is Documentation?

Plagiarism can be avoided by using information in an ethical way. Documentation ensures that the original creator of a source is properly acknowledged each time his or her words, information, ideas, or images are used in another work.

Proper documentation is done both in the text of a project and in a works cited or references list at the end of the project.  This serves several purposes, including:

  • providing complete publication information for a source
  • giving credit to the original creator of a source
  • enabling the reader to more easily find the original source
  • providing a standardized style for recording that information.