One reason to cite your sources is to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is using the ideas and writings of others and representing them as your own. Even if you do not copy another source word-for-word, but rather rephrase the source without attributing it to the original author by including a footnote, you are guilty of plagiarism. Plagiarism is a serious violation of academic standards and is punishable with a failing grade, possible expulsion from the institution, and may subject you to ostracism by your peers.
Section II of the GSU Student Code on Academic Honesty, which all Georgia State students are held to: Policy on Academic Honesty.
When you write a research paper, you will need to include information about the sources you used. This information is used to create the citation which is collected in the bibliography.
What to document:
Guides on formating research papers (including bibliographies) are known as style guides or manuals. Different disciplines require different style manuals.
The following links provide information on the citation style of the American Political Science Association. For information on other styles (including APA, Chicago, and MLA), consult the library Citation Syles research guide.