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Welcome to the Citation Assistance Resource Guide!
Need extra help with creating citations, or writing your research paper? Check out the Excelsior OWL for tons of step-by-step help for the entire research and writing process.
What is citation and why is it important?
Citing sources is when you give credit to another person's words and/or ideas when you use them as evidence in an assignment. There are many reasons why it is important to cite your sources:
- It distinguishes between your words/ideas and the words/ideas of others.
- Citations provide a trail for others to locate the materials you used in your assignments. It shows them where you got your information from.
- Citing sources provides evidence for your research and backs up what you're saying, making you sound more credible.
- And most importantly, citing sources avoids plagiarism!
Two ways you must cite your sources
When you cite your sources, you do so in two different ways:
- A complete citation for each individual source you used in an assignment. This appears in a list of citations at the end of your paper. Depending on the citation style you are using (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.), this list is called different things. But the goal is the same: A full list of all the sources you used that can act as a way for someone to track down those original sources.
- In-Text citations. These are shorter citations that appear in the body of the research paper or assignment. They provide information about which source you are using information from, but are shorter than the full citation at the end of the paper. Most importantly, in-text citations appear in your paper any time you use information from a source. Whether you paraphrase or use direct quotations, you must include an in-text citation!
Each citation style has their own rules for creating citations. For more information check out the other pages in this guide!
Plagiarism is the practice of taking someone else's words or ideas and passing them off as your own.
Plagiarism can be:
- Submitting a paper that has been written by another writer.
- Using words of another writer as if they were your own, without using quotation marks or stating where it came from.
- Paraphrasing material without giving credit for where the information came from.
- Copying information from the Internet or from another person without giving credit. Materials on the Internet are not "up for grabs" just because you can copy and paste the text!
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