An important part of the research process is compiling a bibliography—a list of sources consulted—and citing those sources. The main reason for citing sources is to give credit to the authors whose ideas you have used in your research paper. Citing your sources also allows readers of your work to build on your research by finding the sources to which you’ve referred. Finally, if you don’t cite the sources upon which your research is based, you will be guilty of the most ignoble academic sin: Plagiarism.
Elements of a Citation
Regardless of the citation style you use (see Citation Styles and Style Manuals), there are certain elements common to all citations. Therefore, keep track of the following as you locate and gather research materials:
- Author (or editor); Title; and Publishing information (City, Publisher, Year of publication)
- Author(s); Title of article; Title of journal or magazine; Volume and Date of periodical; and Page number(s) of article
If you access information via the Web, also record the address of the Web site (or online database you used) and the date you accessed the site or database.
For assistance with any aspect of citing sources, please seek assistance at the Research Help Desk, tel. 756-2649.