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Information Literacy Session 3: Citing Sources: Citations - Why they matter

ENG 102 Embedded Librarian Session: Citing & Annotating Sources

Citations - What are they and why are they important?

writing work working table coffee wood pen red education brand art papers design wooden correction school english document review test fix teacher edit mistake grammar error editor check editing accuracy wrong correct correcting english teacher red pen proofread reviewing proofreading revising reviseWhat is a citation?

A citation is a reference to the source materials (books, articles, websites, videos, etc.) that you have included in your projects. It tells your audience where you found the information that you utilized.

Why is a citation important?

A citation is important for several reasons:

  1. They allow your audience to know the source of a specific quotation or idea that appears in your work. The citation works as a road-map from your paper to the original source.
  2. They build your credibility. When your audience (i.e. professor) can easily see the high quality of your sources, they know you have put in the time and effort to build your own knowledge on the topic, making your conclusions more convincing.
  3. They show respect to the creators of the original content. 
  4. Using citations avoids plagiarism. For more information, please see the 'Plagiarism' module.

What are the components of a citation?

A citation in MLA or APA, the two common styles used here at CCC, consist of two components. First, there is an in-text component that ends the sentence containing the quote or paraphrase. This is always shorts and allows the reader to correctly match the quote to the second part of the citation. Second, there is a long-form citation contained in the 'Works Cited' or 'Bibliography'. These contain all the publication information about the source materials and allow your reader to locate the original source. Please use the tabs on the left side of the page to learn more detailed information about specific citation styles.

What are citation styles and which to use?

Citation styles are simply guidelines put out by the professional organizations that oversee different academic disciplines. This means that there are no 'right' and 'wrong' styles to use, it just varies by the course you are taking. Ask your professor what style they would prefer you to use, then simply follow a style guide for that citation style.