While Paul FitzSimons enjoys a well earned break, Mark Brown has some useful internet links for you regarding citing sources in non-fiction – this article is written from a US perspective so some aspects may vary for Irish/UK authors.
Using a citation in something you have written indicates to the reader that certain parts of the material came from a different source. It also provides the reader with the necessary information about the original author, the title of the source, publisher’s location and name, original publication date, and page numbers needed to locate that source. By giving credit where credit is due, you will avoid plagiarism. Giving proper credit is also beneficial to readers in helping them know where the idea came from as well as letting them know you are credible as a writer because you conduct thorough research. Citing your work will only strengthen it, because you are supporting your ideas with the ideas of scholars in their field. Use citation as a way to emphasise the originality of your work.
Why Citation is Important
Citing helps readers in identifying and locating any materials used in written material. There are many readers who rely on footnotes and citations as a way to find literature relevant to the topic. Citing demonstrates depth in your research by showing readers you have engaged and read relevant literature. It shows that you understand the subject and also enhances your credibility. Proper citation will help a writer avoid plagiarism. It is never okay to use someone else’s work and pass it off as your own. Plagiarism is a violation of integrity and should be avoided at all costs.
When Should Citation Be Used?
Citation should be used when someone else’s ideas are referred to, summarized, or paraphrased. Endnotes, footnotes, or parenthetical citation should be used when you cite resources. You should also provide a bibliography of the literature cited which is almost always placed at the bottom or after the conclusion of your written material. Parenthetical citations are citations which are abbreviated and direct the readers to the bibliography at the end of the paper. These typically include the last name of the author as well as page numbers. Endnotes and footnotes contain bibliographic citations the first time sources are cited as well as abbreviated citations for each thereafter. Footnotes are added numerically at the end of the page with the citation. Endnotes are added numerically on a titled reference page. The citation format which should be used will be determined by the style of citation used.
Various citation styles are used for diverse academic disciplines. Chicago, MLA, and APA are the most popular styles in the US. Your professor will inform you which is preferred but each follow a general rule. The Chicago style citation is often used in the sciences, humanities and history. MLA is typically used in the humanities: art and literature. APA is often used in social science and psychology. Should the writer not follow the rules for each style properly, it is still considered plagiarism. Be sure to follow the rules for each citation style exactly to the specifications.
Tools to Help with Citation
Citation managers will allow writers to collect citations for articles and books found in library databases and catalogues and store them for later use. There are some tools available that may be integrated into word processing programs that will generate bibliographies and citations automatically in whichever format specified. These tools provide a way for writers to better manage their sources and can save a great deal of time while writing academic papers.
The following links will provide more information and tools to help you be the best writer you can be.
- Citing Your Sources – Here you can read more on the importance of proper citation. There are also quick links which will direct you to more information on the various citation styles.
- How to Cite Your Sources – This website provides links to sources that will help in evaluating the credibility of your source as well as how to cite web pages and any other resource properly.
- Citation Machine – This is an informative and great website for anyone wanting to improve the citation skills. Enter the specific information about your source and generate a citation.
- Duke University Libraries – Duke University Libraries offers resources to various different citation styles.
- Citation Quiz – This is a quiz you can take to find out how much you know about citing sources. After taking the quiz you can determine where you need to improve your citation skills.
- Plagiarism – This is a great article that discusses how to cite sources, how to identify sources, how to incorporate quotations, and how to properly list references.
- Cite Your Sources – This website has more information on how to avoid plagiarism and offers resources for proper citation.
- Plagiarism Checker – Here you can learn how to determine the probability of writing the exact words that were written by the original author.
- Creating a Bibliography – This shows examples on how to cite books, chapters in books, journal articles, and various other sources.
- Citing Sources in Speeches – This website offers valuable information on speeches from selecting a topic to how to use citations.
(c) Mark Brown