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UCOR 3600-05 Perspectives on Im/migration (Professor Audrey Hudgins)

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Rick Block
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Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons

What is a citation?

A citation identifies for the reader the source of the origin for an idea, information, or image that is referred to in a work. In the body of a paper, the in-text citation acknowledges the source of information used. At the end of a paper, the citations are compiled on a References or Works Cited page. A basic citation includes the author, title and publication information for the source. Other elements such as journal issue and page numbers are added to help the reader find the original work.

Why cite?

Besides avoiding plagiarism, these are the reasons why you should cite your sources:

  • It is the right thing to do (give credit to the person or organization who had the idea)
  • It shows that you have read and understand what experts have had to say about your topic
  • It helps people find the sources that you used in case they want to read more about the topic
  • It provides evidence for your arguments
  • It is standard practice for students and scholars
  • It is professional

Avoiding Plagiarism: Helpful Links

What do you need to cite?

Quoting. Are you quoting two or more consecutive words from a source? Then the original source should be cited and the words or phrase placed in quotes. Use quotes when you want to convey to the reader the language of the original text.

Paraphrasing. If an idea or information comes from another source, even if you put it in your own words, you still need to credit the source. Be careful when you paraphrase to reflect your own writing style, not the original author.

General Knowledge vs. Unfamiliar Knowledge. You do not need to cite material which is accepted common knowledge. You would not have to cite the fact that Big Ben was in London, but you would have to cite little known facts about Big Ben, e.g. dimensions of the tower, who it was named after. If in doubt whether your information is common knowledge or not, cite it.

Formats. When we think of citing sources, we usually think of books and articles. However, if you use material from web sites, films, music, laboratory manuals, lecture notes, special application software, graphs, tables, etc… you will also need to cite these sources. 

Online Citation Tools

In addition to RefWorks, here are other online citation tools available for you to try.