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Why Do We Cite Our Sources?

Why cite sources?

Academics cite sources for a couple of reasons.

  • It's important to give credit to others for their ideas and research when we use them. Using other people's ideas or research without credit is plagiarism.
  • Our readers need to be able to find the original sources we've used to form the argument for our paper. They should be able to check our work to make sure they agree with our conclusions.

stick figure holding sign reading citation needed


Formatting citations correctly is also important, but will vary depending on the citation style your instructor requires. The information below will help you format your citations correctly.
"Citation_needed"by Dawihi is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

How to Build a Citation

1. Determine the citation style you will use. Some citation styles are MLA, APA, Chicago, and AMA.

2. Determine the building blocks you will need for your citation. Do you need the author? Do you need a URL or a link? Different source types will require different information for their citations.

3. Collect these building blocks for each source you might use for your paper. (You will have to find citation information in physical sources and websites within their pages, but digital library sources, like articles from databases or eBooks, usually have the citation information collected for you and available through citation tools.)

4. Format your citations, both in text and for your works cited page, according to the style you have chosen or your instructor has assigned.

Use the citation guidelines below to get started!

Quick Cite!

APA 7th edition Print Book

Other Sources for APA 7th edition