Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Introduction to Academic Integrity

What is a Citation?

These basic definitions will help as you work with citations.

  • Citation:  The basic, necessary information needed to locate the work.
  • Citation Style:  The style (e.g. MLA, APA) dictates the order and format of the information, but the basic elements necessary such as title, author, publication date and so on are generally universal. 
  • In-text Citation:  An attribution to quoted or summarized material used within the text of the paper.  Contains a limited amount of information which varies by style.
  • Bibliography:  List of all the citations referred to in your paper, usually at the end of the paper.  The Modern Language Association calls this a Works Cited page, while the American Psychological Association calls it References.
  • Annotated Bibliography:  List of the citations along with a brief summary and evaluation of each work.
  • Citation Management Software:  Online programs that help you organize and maintain your citations.

For more help with citations, see the Guide to Citing Sources 

Why Cite?

Providing citations of the sources you use for your research shows good academic integrity.  A thorough list of sources shows that you are

  • Using information transparently by allowing readers to see and track down your sources.
  • Using information from reputable sources to form the basis of your argument or research claims.  You may have a good idea, but simply stating it does not make it true or believable. Give your ideas validity and support by citing trustworthy authors.
  • Using information ethically by acknowledging the work that has laid the foundation for your research.  You are avoiding plagiarism when you give other authors their due credit.  Nothing is worse to an author than discovering their hard work has been stolen and claimed as original by someone else. 
Webpages expire, books and articles get lost, photographs and films degrade. Citations are necessary in order to assure that the next person will be able to access the same information through different means.

Other Citation Help Research Guides

There are many resources that provide information about citations.