What is a citation?
A citation indicates the location of your source--it tells you all of the important details about an information source to enable you to find it, including the who, what and where: author/editor/composer, title, article title, publisher, place of publication, copyright date, volume and issue number for journal articles, page numbers, and for web sites or electronic material, the URL and date of retrieval.
What is citing?
Citing is identifying and documenting when you have used another's work. You always cite another's work when you use it in your own research, each and every time:
- when you use an exact quotation, chart, table, photo, song lyric, image or other illustration from another's work (includes print, media, Internet, interviews, music, etc.)
- when you paraphrase or summarize another's words
- when you use an original idea/theory/conclusion/data from another's work
- you do not need to cite common knowledge--facts or information that anyone would know by being awake and reasonably aware, e.g., Barack Obama is the 44th president of the United States. However, be very careful how you define "common knowledge;" if there is even the tiniest doubt, cite it!
Why do we cite?
- to show exactly where you got the information from, in case someone wants to find it or read more of the work
- to give proper credit to the person(s) who actually authored the work or came up with the idea (you wouldn't want someone to steal your work!)
- to provide credibility and evidence that you have read/researched widely to come up with your idea, theory, analysis, conclusion, etc.
- it's unethical, it's dishonest, and it's a punishable offense if you don't do it (if you fail to cite information you used from another's work, intentionally or unintentionally, it is called plagiarism). Forgetting to cite or claiming ignorance of proper citation procedures are not valid excuses; there is no justifiable excuse, just do it!
How do we cite?
Generally, you will be told to use a specific citation style guide or manual, e.g., MLA (Modern Languages Association Style Manual), or APA (The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association). There are others (Chicago, Harvard, etc.), but APA and MLA are the most widely used at ENMU. Style manuals standardize citation information and also include formatting criteria (how your paper should look). Most of our databases will display a CITE link enabling you to copy and paste an article citation directly into your paper.
- For APA style: OWL's "APA Formatting and Style Guide"
- you cite "in text" (within your paper)—within or immediately following a quote/paraphrase/idea you use, or underneath a chart/illustration, and
- you cite in the "reference list" (at the end of your paper to show all sources you used)
- each source you cite in your paper (in text) must appear in your reference list, and each entry in the reference list must be cited in your text
- For MLA style: OWL's "MLA Formatting and Style Guide"
- you cite "in text" (within your paper) and
- you cite in a "works cited" page at the end of your paper to show all sources used
- each source you cite in text must appear in your works cited list, and each entry in the works cited list must be cited in your text
Here are some examples of plagiarism, courtesy of Duke University Libraries:
- Copying, quoting, paraphrasing, or summarizing from any source without adequate documentation
- Purchasing a pre-written paper
- Letting someone else write a paper for you
- Paying someone else to write a paper for you
- Submitting as your own someone else's unpublished work, either with or without permission
Many instructors use a software program capable of detecting unoriginal content, such as Turnitin. You will be required to submit assignments to the Turnitin service before you submit them to your instructors. Plagiarism is a serious offense in violation of the Student Code of Conduct, as outlined in the ENMU Student Handbook.