A citation is information arranged in a standard format that indicates exactly how to find a book, magazine article, or other information. A citation usually includes: author, title, publisher, and date. A citation for a magazine article also includes the name of the magazine and the page numbers. A citation for a website should include author, title, publication date and additional information such as the URL (web site address).
Citation is a noun AND a verb:
Citation is also used as a verb. Citation, sometimes called documention, is the act of gathering that information and putting it into your paper or speech.
Two parts to a proper citation:
A properly cited paper includes TWO THINGS
citations in text (for example, using a signal phrase to indicate that what comes next is not your own idea--"Dr. Lee claims that ..." and often some "parenthetical information" indicating a date or page number) AND...
the complete citation mentioned in the first paragraph above in the works cited or references list.
Citing your sources is important for three reasons:
To give credit to the person or organization whose ideas you are using (and avoid charges of plagiarism)
To show your audience that your argument is a good one because you consulted experts as well as thinking about the topic yourself
To give your audience sufficient information to find those same sources for themselves
A style manual published by the Modern Language Association
Used in English and the humanities
Governs how we format our papers and ensures consistency
Includes elements such as:
selection of headings, tone, and length;
punctuation and abbreviations;
presentation of numbers and statistics;
construction of tables and figures,
citation of sources both in-text and in a Works Cited page;
and many other elements that are a part of a manuscript.
After you gather information from outside resources to add to your own ideas about a topic, you will quote, paraphrase, or summarize those sources within the body of your paper.
Citing allows you to share with your readers where you got your information so that they can verify what you've written or follow up on an interesting idea, and it protects you from any charges of plagiarism.
There are two parts to a proper MLA citation:
The citation "in text," letting your readers know when an idea comes from someone other than yourself within the text of your paper. Remember you must always cite when borrowing another author's words or ideas. That is true not only when you quote directly from another author's works but also when you paraphrase or summarize (i.e. EVEN if you put it in your own words you need to cite it!).
Example using a signal phrase:
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If you do not use a signal phrase to introduce the author then you would put the author’s last name in parentheses along with the page number. Use no punctuation between the name and the page number.
Example without using a signal phrase:
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Citation in a "Works Cited" page
The separate "Works Cited" page where you will list complete information about each of those sources, which comes at the end of your paper.
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For more examples and help with citations, you can also click on the "Get Help Creating Citations" tab in this content box.
The "in-text citation" -- called this because it occurs in the text of your paper -- lets your readers know when an idea comes from someone other than yourself within the text of your paper.
Below is an example of using a signal phrase to introduce the author. Please note that many instructors prefer the use of a signal phrase, but there's no harm in asking your instructors about what they prefer.
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If the author is not named in a signal phrase, place the author's last name, the year of publication, and the page number in parentheses after the quotation, summary, or paraphrase.
Basic info and examples for how to format a references list using APA style
Plagiarism is defined as using others’ original ideas in one’s written or spoken work without giving proper credit. It includes, but is not limited to, the inclusion of someone else's words, ideas or data as one's own work.
Plagiarism can occur in two ways: intentional and unintentional.
You may intentionally plagiarize in many ways, such as:
Turning in someone else’s work as your own
Copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
Failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
Giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
Changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
Copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether giving credit or not
Using essays that you have written for previous classes (whether in part or in full) for a current class. "Recycling" your own material, believe it or not, is a form academic dishonesty
You may unintentionally plagiarize when:
Trying in good faith to document your academic work, but failing to do so accurately and/or thoroughly
Plagiarism and documentation have not been addressed in a student's academic coursework and the student is unprepared for college academic writing or speaking.
When in doubt, cite it! You must carefully indicate which parts of your paper or speech come from an outside source by using proper in-text citations and full references. Simply listing the sources you used at the end of your paper is not enough to avoid charges of plagiarism.
Video tutorial about how to avoid plagiarism:
Please watch the short video below -- pay careful attention to the section about paraphrasing.
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