The materials contained on this page come from a LibGuide created by the librarians at J Sargeant Reynolds Community College, Richmond VA.
The primary reason to cite your sources is to avoid plagiarism and give proper credit to the original author or creator. Other reasons for citing your sources:
Citing: Also called documenting or referencing. The recording of information (e.g., author, title, publisher, publication date, page numbers, database name, URL address, etc.) from a source (e.g., book, magazine article, web site) which allows an instructor or anyone to identify and locate a source. By citing your sources, you are also giving proper credit to those sources. This information is then formatted to a citation style (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago) specified by your instructor and inserted into your essay.
Common knowledge: Facts or ideas that are well know by many people and that can be found in numerous sources (e.g., Barack Obama is our current president of the United States).
Quotation: Also called a quote. Using someone's exact words. When you use a direct quote, place the passage in quotation marks and cite the source according to the citation style specified by your instructor (e.g., Using a direct excerpt from Barack Obama’s January 2009 inaugural address).
Paraphrasing: Using someone's ideas, but putting them in your own words. This is probably the skill you will use most when incorporating sources into your writing. Although you use your own words to paraphrase, you must still cite the source of the information (e.g., Using an excerpt from Barack Obama’s January 2009 inaugural address and putting it in your own words).
Plagiarism is using another person’s ideas or words without clearly acknowledging or citing the source of that information. You must give credit whenever you use:
Less Obvious Plagiarism