There are three main reasons to cite your sources.
1. Avoid plagiarism - Using someone else's words or ideas and presenting them as your own is plagiarism.
2. Provide authority - Show support for statements in your text.
3. Locate sources - Allow others to find the source materials you used.
More Resources: Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL), Avoiding Plagiarism and Citing Sources: Why & How to Do It
You should provide a citation whenever your writing is based on someone else's work or ideas.
Provide a citation when you:
Quote - use phrases or sentences exactly as they appear in the source document.
Paraphrase - restate an idea from the source document using your own words.
Summarize - briefly restate the main ideas from the source document.
See also: Quoting and Paraphrasing
Your citation should be detailed enough to allow a reader to find the source document. Citation styles can vary. For more information, consult the appropriate citation style from the menu at the top of the page. In general, a citation should include the following information:
Title (book, article, chapter, etc.)
Source title (journal, book, newspaper, etc.)
Volume number (and issue number for some journals)
Place of publication (for books)
Publisher (for books)
Publication date (last revised date for electronic resources)
Page numbers (print resources)
Citations for electronic sources (web pages, online articles, etc) may require the following additional information:
Database (Academic Search Premier, JSTOR, etc.)
Database provider (EBSCO, CSA, etc.)
Publication medium (Web)
Date viewed (day, month, year)
URL (web address)
Remember, it is better to include too much information rather than too little.
Take a look at Citing Government Documents for help in creating government document citations.
In general you should:
1. Include a parenthetical note, numbered citation or footnote in the text when quoting, summarizing or paraphrasing someone else's work.
Parenthetical references vary depending on the citation style you use:
Citations in APA style include the author and publication date (Author, year).
MLA citations include page numbers, but no date (Author pages).
Some citation styles require you to number citations.
Numbered citations may be in parentheses(1), superscript2, or italics3.
Footnotes are generally indicated by superscript numbers.1
1. The note itself is located at the bottom of the same page, separated from the main text by a short horizontal line.
2. Provide a list of cited works at the end of the paper (bibliography, references, literature cited, etc.)
Reference lists for papers using parenthetical notes are listed alphabetically, by author's last name:
Author A. "Article Title." Source Title. Volume.Issue (Year): Pages.
Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (year). Title. Place of publication: Publisher.
Numbered citations are collected in numerical order:
1. Author. Book Title, Edition Number; Series Information; Publisher: Place of Publication, Year; Volume Number, pages.
2. Author. Title of Website. URL (accessed date).
Papers using footnotes often include alphabetical bibliographies at the end of the paper:
Author, A. "Article title." In Encyclopedia Title. Place of publication: Publisher. edition. Year.
Author, B. "Article Title." Journal Title volume, no. issue (year): page numbers.
The citation style you use may depend on several factors. A specific style may be:
Required by your professor
Required by the journal (if you are writing for publication)
Commonly used in your discipline
For more information, consult the appropriate citation style (APA, MLA, etc.) from the menu at the top of the page.