Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Cite Your Sources: Why Cite Your Sources?

Why cite your sources? What does this mean? How do I do this? These questions will be addressed through the information provided on the pages of this guide.

Why should I Care?

         Does it matter?  Learn here why YOUR future depends upon it!

Learn more at Please Do Not Cheat!

Learn About Citing Sources

Why do you need to cite the sources you use for your papers?* (OR any work?)

1.     Your teachers expect you to read about the research of others, and to bring together their ideas in such a way that makes sense to you and will make sense to your readers.  Therefore, it's essential for you to cite your sources in any research paper you write. The academic reasons for doing so are to give credit to those who have done the original research and written the article or book, and to allow readers (your teachers) to look at them if needed to find out if you have properly understood what the author was trying to say. 

2.    On a practical level, citing your sources is a way to show that you've done the assignment. If your paper contains no citations, the implication is that you have done a piece of original research, but that probably was not the assignment. Citations (along with the bibliography) show that you have consulted a variety of resources as the assignment required. They're also an acknowledgement of your indebtedness to those authors. 

3.    So don't feel you need to hide the fact that you're drawing from one of your sources. That's what it's all about.

*Adapted from: Taylor, Bill. "A letter to my students." Academic Integrity Seminar.  29 Feb. 2008 <>

There are quite a few different ways to cite resources in your paper. The citation style sometimes depends on the academic discipline involved. For example:

  • MLA (Modern Language Association) style is used by the Humanities
  • APA (American Psychological Associastion) is used by Education, Psychology, and Sciences
citation reflects all of the information a person would need to locate a particular source. For example, basic citation information for a book consists of name(s) of author(s) or editor(s), title of book, name of publisher, place of publication, and most recent copyright date.
A citation style dictates the information necessary for a citation and how the information is ordered, as well as punctuation and other formatting. 

bibliography lists citations for all of the relevant resources a person consulted during his or her research. (Used with APA format.)

In an annotated bibliography, each citation is followed by a brief note—or annotation—that describes and/or evaluates the source and the information found in it.

works cited list presents citations for those sources referenced in a particular paper, presentation, or other composition. (Used with MLA format.)
An in-text citation consists of just enough information to correspond to a source's full citation in a Works Cited list. In-text citations often require a page number (or numbers) showing exactly where relevant information was found in the original source.

Piracy includes downloading music, copying software, downloading games, downloading and/or copying movies and much more.  It is anytime you download or copy copyrighted material without the author's/creator's permission and it is ILLEGAL.  Piracy is stealing.  It is that simple.  The Internet has made it very easy to take these things, but just because it is easy doesn't make it right (or legal).

The following symbols will help you identify copyrighted material:


   Registered Trademark

Not all copyrighted material will have these symbols or information on the copyright.  Unless the material specifically gives permission to copy/download and use, you must assume that you cannot.

For more information: