Most academic work draws upon the works of others; therefore, citing your sources is an important part of the scholarly writing process.
Citations include the key elements that allow your sources to be identified and located. These elements vary depending upon the type of resource.
There are several reasons to cite your sources:
- Give proper credit to the ideas, words, and works of others you use in your research
- Allow readers to find your sources - so they can determine if they are reliable, better evaluate your argument, and locate additional information
- Avoid plagiarism (see Georgia State University Academic Honesty Policy.)
The specific format of your citations will depend upon the documentation style you are using. Different disciplines use different styles - check with your professor if you are unsure of which one to use.
Commonly used styles include APA, MLA, Chicago, and Turabian. Each of these has an official style guide. These manuals contain detailed examples on citing a wide variety of sources. In addition, they contain information about proper formating such as margin and font size.
For most styles, you cite your sources in two places:
1) Within your paper - Immediately after using a source, include a parenthetical citation, footnote or endnote.
2) At the end of your paper - Assemble a complete list of your sources. This is knows as a "Bibliography," "Reference List" or "Works Cited" section.
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