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"Ironically, the more intensive and far-reaching a historian's research, the greater the difficulty of citation.  As the mountain of material grows, so does the possibility of error."

- Doris Kearns Goodwin, Historian

Cite Source Material

Citation is an important part of research. When you cite, you are doing what’s called due diligence, which means you are taking responsibility legally for giving the proper credit for a quote or an idea you are using in your research. Citation also helps your reader to follow your thought process and follow the evidence. Citation may be buggy, but it’s an important part of showing the work you’ve done in the research process.

What confuses students the most is that every field has a different form of citation. English uses the Modern Language Association (MLA), Psychology uses the American Psychology Association (APA), and History uses the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS). Your instructors will help guide you on the citation style for their courses. Other than nuisances in formatting, what remains consistence is why you would use citation.

  • Taking a direct quote as evidence.
  • Paraphrasing an author’s  idea.
  • Taking the structure of an author’s idea or argument.

The Learning Commons has tutors to help you in the Writing Process; the tutors there can empower you to learn the details of each. You can always refer to your style guide that you acquired in your English course. This is one book you don’t want to sell back to the publisher. It’s an important reference. The Purdue OWL is always a strong online resource to use; the cite is filled with example research papers so you can get a feel of what your paper should look like.You will find that as you progress in your education, you will start to use one citation style more frequently than the others.Hang in there; I know that sometimes you may think it’s busy work, but citation helps you to avoid academic dishonesty or plagiarism, whether intentional or unintentional. We as faculty want to see and are excited to see the lengths of exploration into the scholarship you underwent to come up with your own conclusions.

Video Tutorial

What is a citation and why do we use it?

Citations are pretty standard in academic writing and lets readers see the connection between different articles and writers. This video explains more on the reasons we use citations.

Video Tutorial

Understanding Plagiarism and what makes something Plagiarized.

This video goes over different types of plagiarism and how you can make sure your work is not plagiarized when using sources. 

Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism

Pro Tip!

Don't let the different styles of citation frustrate you.

Citation is about paying attention to detail, and the most frustrating part of citation is the details in the formatting.  Do not throw away your style guides in your English courses; if you did (or sold it back), then go to the library, and look for the proper citation guides for MLAAPA (APA), or the Chicago Manual of Style.
At PPCC, the Chicago Manual of Style is online. The Purdue Owl is another great online resource for you to use.  The tutors at the Learning Commons at PPCC have sessions to help you guide through the process. Visit them, and ask them question.