1. To give credit where it's due. When you use someone's ideas, figures, or words, you need to cite them.
2. To provide context and situate your own discussion in the ongoing conversation on your topic.
3. To lend weight to your work. When you make a claim without citing a credible source, your claim lacks credibility. When you cite an expert in the field, your argument is stronger.
4. So your reader can follow a clear path to your sources.
Full Citation from Works Cited:
Here is a sample paragraph that demonstrates making source material part of one's own discussion. This sample is from an MLA style paper. It is excerpted with permissino from The Little Seagull.