A citation reflects all of the information a person would need to locate a particular source. For example, basic citation information for a book consists of name(s) of author(s) or editor(s), title of book, name of publisher, place of publication, and most recent copyright date.
A citation style dictates the information necessary for a citation and how the information is ordered, as well as punctuation and other formatting.
A bibliography lists citations for all of the relevant resources a person consulted during his or her research. In an annotated bibliography, each citation is followed by a brief note or annotation that describes and/or evaluates the source and the information found in it. A works cited list presents citations for those sources referenced in a particular paper, presentation, or other composition.
An in-text citation consists of just enough information to correspond to a source's full citation in a Works Cited list. In-text citations often require a page number (or numbers) showing exactly where relevant information was found in the original source.
Why and When Citations Matter
When referencing information from another's work be sure to provide appropriate credit by citing the source to avoid plagiarism. Your professors expect you to read about the research of others, and to bring together their ideas in such a way that makes sense to you and will make sense to your readers. However, it's essential for you to cite your sources whenever you are using other peoples ideas or work in any research paper you write. Also, there are serious academic consequences for plagiarism at SCNM (e.g. receiving a failing grade on an assignment or course and/or dismissal from the program).
- To give credit to those who have done the original research, written the article or book, and to allow readers (and your professors) to look at them if needed to find out if you have properly understood what the author was trying to say.
- To demonstrate that you have done your research and/or show that you've done the assignment.
- If your paper contains no citations, the impression is that you have done a piece of original research. If you used pieces of others ideas in your paper it should contain citations. Citations (along with the bibliography) show that you have consulted a variety of resources and from what resources you are borrowing work. They are also an acknowledgement of your indebtedness to those authors.
- To support your arguments.
- It is okay to draw from others work, as long as you give credit where credit is due!
When to cite
- If you borrow an idea, opinion or finding
- Direct quotes
- Paraphrasing or summarizing
- Statistical data
- Other work
- When in doubt, cite it!