Why do you need to cite the sources you use for your papers?*
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. Therefore, it's essential for you to cite your sources in any research paper you write. The academic reasons for doing so are to give credit to those who have done the original research and written the article or book, and to allow readers (your professors) to look at them if needed to find out if you have properly understood what the author was trying to say.
On a practical level, citing your sources is a way to show that you've done the assignment. If your paper contains no citations, the implication is that you have done a piece of original research, but that probably was not the assignment. Citations (along with the bibliography) show that you have consulted a variety of resources as the assignment required. They're also an acknowledgement of your indebtedness to those authors.
So you don't feel you need to hide the fact that you're drawing from one of your sources. That's what it's all about.
*Adapted from: Taylor, Bill. "A letter to my students." Academic Integrity Seminar.29 Feb. 2008
What are We Talking About?
- 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.