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HST 197/198 (Smith): Citing Your Sources

Why Cite?

An important part of academic integrity is acknowledging the sources that you use to do your research.  When you properly cite someone in your paper, you are acknowledging that person's ideas and work.  We all like to have our work appreciated, even researchers!

Another important reason for citing is that it helps your reader understand the conclusions you are reaching in your paper because he or she can read the sources you cite.  Your reader can follow your "footprints" to better understand the topic you are writing about.

Tips for Citing Properly

  • Cite all sources.  When in doubt, cite it!
  • Use the appropriate citation style for your discipline (i.e. MLA, APA, Chicago).  It's often best to ask your professor what he or she prefers.
  • You must provide an in-text citation or footnote when you quote or paraphrase someone in your paper.
  • In-text citation usually refers to when you give the author and page number of the quote you are using.  Your reader can use the author's name to look the original work up in the bibliography at the end of your paper.  Then he or she can use the page number to read the quote and the surrounding paragraphs in the original work.
  • Footnotes and endnotes work in a similar way to in-text citation.  Which one you use depends on the citation style and the preferences of your professor.
  • A Bibliography (sometimes called References or Works Cited) refers to the list of citations that appears at the end of your paper.  Here is where you provide the information your reader can use to find the work you are citing.
  • Your citations in the Bibliography of the paper provide all the information your reader needs to track down your source.  This is why it's important to be accurate and thorough with your citations.  If you write down the name of the journal wrong, your reader will have a hard time finding the journal article you are referencing.

Citation Formats