Watch this video about citation for a general overview about what it is and why we use it.
Honesty and integrity are key characteristics of a good student and a good citizen. By citing your sources, you are showing others that you are using information ethically, and you are giving credit to those whose ideas and words you borrow. You read more about this in the plagiarism section of this module.
Any time you use the words or ideas of another, you need to give credit by using a citation. This includes direct quotes and paraphrasing. If you turn in a paper with a list of sources, but nothing in the text indicates that indicates that you have borrowed from someone else, that is a form of plagiarism.
This is an area where many students have problems. It is not enough to just include the source in your list of References or Bibliography. You also need to use citation within your writing. Someone reading your paper or project should be able to tell whether what you are writing is your own or borrowed. Sometimes you can include the information within the writing, such as, "According to so and so..., " "So and so tells us...," or any number of other variations. Other times, you will include the information about the sources at the end of the borrowed material. The specifics of how you do this will vary depending on the specific style you are using.
Always check your assignment and course information to see if there is a specific style your teacher requires. Sometimes you are given a choice of styles. If this is the case, I recommend sticking with the same one throughout your course. If you are required to use a specific style for a different course, you may want to consider using that when you are given a choice, as you may find it easier to keep everything straight. The two styles you will encounter most often are MLA and APA.
In the sections below, you will find resources to help you with citation in both MLA and APA