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Willis N. Hackney Library

FYS 102: Bulldog Skills Online Workshop: APA-Style Citations, 7th Edition

Why Do We Need to Cite Our Sources of Information?

While there are many reasons to cite your sources, here are two of the most important:

  • Number 1:  To make it possible for your readers to locate/view the sources you used:  Citations make it possible for someone reading your work to find and read/view the actual sources that you used in your paper or research.  (As we mentioned in Step 2 of this workshop, a citation essentially functions as an "address" to help the readers of your paper or other assignment locate that source, giving your readers a chance to see if their understanding of it is the same as yours.)  Ideally, the citation is constructed in such a way as to make it easy for someone else to locate the exact same sources you used.
  • Number 2:  To give cedit where credit is due:  When you use the intellectual property of others (their ideas, theories, analyses, images, music, etc.), whether you quote them directly (word for word), or you use their intellectual property indirectly (for example, if you are paraphrasing or putting their thoughts into your own words), you must acknowledge their contribution and credit the original source(s). The way you do this is to cite the original work

If you do not acknowledge the original ideas of others that you build upon in your own work, you engage in plagiarism, which is a major violation of the honor code. 

Think about it--you wouldn't want someone claiming credit for your ideas, would you?

The same holds true when you use material that originated with others.  


Let's go to Step 4 (below to the right or in the left sidebar) for tips on how to steer clear of this plagiarism pitfall.