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Citing Your Sources

A citation refers to information (e.g., title, author, date) related to a source (e.g., article, image, website) of which you are not the original creator, but which you used to support your research. It is necessary that you identify which quotes, facts, images, etc., are yours and which derive from the research and thoughts of others. Whether you summarize, paraphrase, or use a piece of text that is not your original idea, the source must be acknowledged. There are many different citation styles you can choose from, depending on your field of study, the demands of your class or instructor, and your own preference. 

Why cite?

  • To verify that you have done proper research by critically using established information and sources.
  • To give credit to the original author whose arguments, ideas, or works you used for your research.
  • To empower your work by providing evidence-based research.
  • To enable readers to find and read the sources you used.
  • To provide context for your argument in a wider scholarly discussion.

What needs to be cited?

  • Any direct quotes taken from any source.
  • Any idea, fact, theory, concept, image, video taken from any source.
  • Paraphrases of text.
  • Summaries of other works.
  • Figures, data, or statistics taken from any source.
  • Your own ideas expressed in a previous piece of work produced by you.

What doesn't need to be cited?

Undisputed facts and generally accepted information (e.g., Romeo and Juliet is a play written by William Shakespeare). 

What if I don't cite?

Ideas are considered intellectual property. Therefore, any source that is not based on your original idea must be acknowledged. By not citing, or citing incorrectly, the sources you used to support your research, you commit plagiarism.

What is a citation style?

A citation style is a set of guidelines that specify what information is needed for a citation and how the information is ordered and formatted.

What is involved in citing correctly?

In most citation styles, two parts are required:

  • An indication in the text called in-text citation.
  • A list of all the used sources placed at the end of a work.


We provide guides and resources for APA, MLA, and Chicago styles. We provide basic resources on disciplinary styles and citation generators.