Citations, quoting and paraphrasing

In the academic environment, source material is ‘cited’ or referenced to acknowledge and give credit to  the work of others that has contributed to your writing. Citations also acknowledge an idea or passage that should be associated with a particular author’s opinion or work. Citing your sources is extremely important in the university environment.

In writing courses, most instructors will provide you with specific instructions on how to cite to material that you reference and include in your written work.  However, if they do not provide you with specific instructions, follow this general rule: any source material incorporated into written work should be referenced in three ways:

  1.   an in-text citation, such as a footnote or a reference in parentheses with information about the  source (e.g. page number, title, author name, date of publication);
  2.   quotation marks placed around words or passages taken verbatim from the source; and
  3.   a complete entry for the source in a Bibliography or list of Works Cited at the end of the document.

When using an idea that is summarized or paraphrased, a citation and bibliography entry are required. Paraphrasing is referencing someone else’s ideas in your own words and requires a citation. When in doubt, cite to the reference material.  Never use material if a complete citation is not possible.


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