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Citations & Avoiding Plagiarism

How to cite sources using MLA, APA or Chicago. Also has resources for understanding and avoiding plagiarism.

Why do you cite?



Why do you use citations?

Shows your work. 

  • Your readers can track down the same sources you used for further exploration.
  • Your instructors see that you have met their research requirements.
  • You get to brag about all the work you did.

Give credit where credit is due. 

  • Highlight the evidence you are using thereby providing more authority to your work.
  • It shows that you are an ethical user of information and acknowledges the work of others.
  • This means not just text, but also images or other creative forms of information.

Avoid plagiarism.  

  • Plagiarism is stealing and passing off the ideas or words of another person's as your own.  

What are citations? 

Citations are directions. They tell your audience where to find the evidence that you are referring to in your project. 

They often include two parts: a full citation and an in-text citation

  • Full citation appears at the end of the project (ex. Works Cited page, References page, Bibliography) and describes exactly what and where to find that source.
  • In-text citation appears within the project. It provides limited information about the evidence, that directs your audience to refer to the full citation at the end of the project. This can also be done in speeches and are called verbal citations.
Why are citations so specific?

Consistency makes it easier for readers to understand where you found your research.

  • Think of it like typing an address. Everyone uses the same format when giving an address and this makes it easier for Google Maps or your Uber driver to know exactly where you want to go.  

Identifies the exact source in the specific format you (the researcher) saw it.

  • Sources can change slightly (or dramatically) anytime it is republished. Readers want to know exactly which version the writer used.