Citing Your Sources

Once you’ve gathered and evaluated all your information, you’re ready to write your paper. But there’s a final step–citing the information sources you used.

Why do we cite sources?

  • To give credit to the original authors. (This is how you avoid plagiarism, which is taking credit for someone else’s words and/or ideas.)
  • To let others know where you found your information (so they can find more related information, make their own judgements about the source content, evaluate your interpretation of the source, etc.).

So how do you cite sources?

For this class, you’ll be using a citation format called APA. The APA Style Manual is available at the Pratt Library reference desk (call number 808.02 P976A6) or you can use Purdue’s online quick-reference guide. There’s even software online to format your citation for you, but be sure to double-check it for accuracy!

Here’s a sample APA citation for a book. The library catalog record for this book contains the information used in this citation.

  • Vaz, M. C. (1989). Tales of the Dark Knight: Batman’s first fifty years, 1939-1989. New York: Ballantine Books.

Remember that when you cite a source, you’re letting others know where to find the information you’ve used. Therefore, the key pieces of information that help them find something are: author, year of publication, title, publisher, publisher location, and page number.

Here are some other ways to ensure you’re not taking credit for (plagiarizing) someone’s work.

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