Why Cite Sources?
Giving credit to the original author of thoughts, words, and ideas is an important ethical concept.
- To avoid PLAGIARISM: While a bibliography does not prevent plagiarism, it is an important tool in avoiding plagiarism.
- BUILDING on research: Pertinent information is gleaned from the ideas of those who came before, and a researcher then produces new knowledge by integrating the ideas of others with her own conclusions. This is the scholarly research process.
- TRACING research: According to Joseph Gibaldi, the author of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, “in presenting their work, researchers generously acknowledge their debts to predecessors by carefully documenting each source so that earlier contributions receive appropriate credit” (104). This is the basis for all scholarship. It is important that researchers give credit so readers can trace the ideas presented back to the sources.
- CONTRIBUTING ideas: Your contribution, as a student, to disciplinary knowledge is the unique ways you interpret and synthesize the words, thoughts, and ideas of authorities. In fact, giving credit to experts and authoritative sources gives your conclusions validity that cannot be achieved by simply stating one's own opinions.
- LOCATING additional research: And that is another reason for citations: it allows readers to access the cited materials if they are performing research on that topic.
(Disclaimer: This Citation Guide is based on the template from Val A. Browning Library, Dixie State College: http://libguides.dixie.edu/content.php?pid=5025). Also, Jonathan Barber, GWC Library's Adjunct Library Faculty, contributed to updating the MLA and APA sections on this guide.)