Avoid Plagiarizing: You must cite any direct quotation, summary, or paraphrase of any idea or fact from your research. Citing sources is giving credit to the original author and publication where you found the information. Not citing sources is plagiarism and you may be subject to academic discipline.
Lend Authority to Your Paper: By referencing the work of scholars and other professionals, you demonstrate that your own research is based on solid, reliable information and that you are capable of critical thinking by being able to synthesize that research into your own.
Provide a Path: By citing sources, you provide the information readers of your paper need in order to locate the same sources that you did.
Acknowledge Other's Work: Part of your research is built upon the research of other people. It is respectful and fair to give them credit for their hard work (just as you would hope someone would give you credit if they were quoting your own work!)
Use quotes, ideas, facts & figures from experts and leaders in the field to lend weight and credibility to your discussion and analysis.
Compare the following two statements:
Obama's health care package promises to make insurance more affordable for most Americans.
According to figures from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health policy think tank, health care costs will go down for most, though not all Americans under Obama's health care plan. The foundation estimates that "a family of four making US$44 000 a year will pay US $200 a month and a family making US $66 000 a month will pay US $550 a month, if provisions of the House bill become law. That's down from more than US$1000 a month now. Higher income people will get less help and might see little difference. The wealthiest Americans will pay higher taxes." (Woodward, Cal. "Obama Taps New Allies and Tackles Age-Old Divisions in Nudging Health Care Reform." CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal. 182. (2010): E111-E113. Academic Search Complete. Web. 6 Nov. 2011.)
Which statement do you think is stronger?
Citations matter! Check out this recent news story about a political blogger who was forced to resign for not crediting his sources:
Media Blogger Romanesko Resigns after Questions about Attribution. The blog post offers an interesting discussion of how bloggers build on and refer to each other's blog posts.
Scholarship is a Conversation!
This hands-on workshop will help you understand why and how to give credit in your academic work and beyond.
You can take an online version of the workshop through our online NoodleTools Citation Tutorial in Canvas or the NoodleTools How-To Guide!
Still have citation questions? Check the more extensive guide dedicated to citations: