A citation is a reference that allows you to acknowledge the sources* you use in a formal academic paper, and enables a reader to locate those sources through the key information it provides.
Citations are placed both in the text and in an organized list at the end of the text. The format of the citations can vary depending on the citation style that is used. If a footnote or endnote system is used, citations can be self-contained without an organized list.
*Source material might come from books, journal articles, speeches, websites, on-line articles, films, government publications, legal proceedings, maps, and so on.
It is important to cite when borrowing the ideas and thoughts of others for several reasons.
Not citing your sources is academically dishonest and may lead to charges of plagiarism.
In addition, citations are integral to scholarly literature. The scholarly literature on a topic is like a huge conversation that can include many experts from around the world and across the centuries. When an individual writer credits his sources, he ties his work to the larger scholarly discourse. Because citations identify intellectual links throughout scholarly literature, they can be helpful not only when writing but also when conducting research.
Citations enable you as a researcher to
If you quote an author, even if you are only borrowing a single key word, you must tell your reader where you found the information. Using an author’s words exactly as they appear on the page, then, is a direct quotation that always requires a citation.
You also must cite a source
These restatements of an author’s words, thoughts, or ideas will take the form of either
Not to Cite: