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Why We Cite
Citing sources means that the writer shows that they took information—a quote, data, image, idea, etc. from another source. The main reasons to cite sources properly include:
- To establish credibility by showing readers the research involved in your paper and the academic validity of the research.
- To give credit to other researchers and acknowledge their work as part of the academic community.
- To avoid plagiarism.
- To help readers and other researchers track down your sources if necessary.
Consequences to plagiarism in school and academic setting vary from failing the assignment or the whole class to being dismissed from the institution.
The following always need the source information listed:
- quotations, opinions, and predictions (whether directly quoted or paraphrased)
- statistics derived by the original author.
- visuals (=charts, photos, other images)
- another author’s theories
- case studies
- another author’s direct experimental methods or results
- another author’s specialized research procedures or findings
Source: Style for Students Online by Joe Schall, Penn State University.
Note that any sounds you use in PowerPoint presentations must also be cited.
Read more at Style for Students Online by Joe Schall, Penn State University. The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) has excellent writing and citing resources.
What We Cite
Here are the common situations where citations are necessary:
- When you quote someone's exact words--either from a book, website, speech, interview, video, podcast, etc.
- When you paraphrase or summarize someone else's word--again, from a book, website, speech, interview, video, podcast, etc.
- When you paraphrase or summarize someone else's idea.
- When you utilize statistics or other numerical data from a source.
- Use an image, picture or diagram from a source.
- Use a video or audio file from a source.
- Mention a fact that is not "common knowledge".
When in doubt--CITE!
When We DON'T Cite
Here are the common things that DO NOT need to be cited:
- When writing your own experiences, observations, thoughts, etc.
- Writing results from your own experiment or observations
- Your own drawing, artwork, photo, video or audio file
- Common Knowledge
What is "Common Knowledge"?
Generally speaking "common knowledge" is considered to be information that most people know (ex.George Washington was the first president of the United States) or can be easily accessed from multiple sources (ex. United States GDP).
NoodleTools is a citation management website subscribed to by Pescosolido Library. It will manage your sources, provide proper footnote format, export your Bibliography direct to Google Docs, and manage online notecards. Many databases including JSTOR and GALE export sources directly into NoodleTools.
Creating a NoodleTools account through the school will give you free access to the full version of NoodleTools with more options than the free version.
DIRECTIONS FOR CREATING A NEW ACCOUNT:
There are several different citation styles. The most commonly used ones include for example:
- MLA (Modern Language Association)
- APA (American Psychological Association)
- Chicago (CMS, CMOS; Chicago Manual of Style)
Which citation style to use depends on your teacher. Always ask your teacher before starting your bibliography!