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When you start a new project, you will want to research your topic using relevant, credible resources. As you research, it is important to highlight key passages and take notes on information that you might want to include in your paper to help you support your argument.
You must acknowledge your sources by providing your readers with documentation that describes the source and can lead your reader to the source's location.
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Video - What is a bibliography?
What should you cite?
You should acknowledge any ideas or information that you use in your paper that are not your own. Anytime you quote, paraphrase or summarize information from another source in your paper you must let the reader know where this information came from.
Sources of information include: text, audio/visual, art work, interviews, letters, maps and tables.
When should you cite?
Your reader needs to be able to distinguish your words and ideas from the words and materials of other creators. You do this by summarizing, paraphrasing, or quoting text (see the boxes below). This should be done in written work and oral presentations.
Text: Acknowledge the source directly after it is used in your paper. Create an in-text citation and put the full citation in your reference list.
Presentations: Create a list of sources on the final slide.
Oral Presentation: Acknowledge the source by saying "According to..." or "As written by..." If there is a presentation as well, include a final slide with a list of y our sources.
Quote: A quote is when you use the exact words of the author in your paper. You must copy the original source word for word and include it in quotation marks. Quotations are the easiest way to include source material, but quotations should be used carefully and sparingly. Use quotes when:
- The original material is too difficult to rephrase without changing the author’s intent.
- You want to use the original language of the source because of it's effectiveness.
When you decide to quote, be careful on relying on one source too often and make sure that your use of the quote demonstrates an understanding of the source material.
Paraphrase: When you paraphrase you restate the author's idea in your own words, using your own voice and style. The length should be about the same as the original source. Use paraphrasing to:
- Further explain or simplify a passage that may be difficult to understand. Paraphrasing allows the writer to simplify a passage so the audience can better understand the idea.
- Maintain the flow of the writing. Paraphrasing can help communicate an important idea in a passage or source without interrupting the flow of the essay.
- Eliminate less relevant information. Since paraphrasing is written using your own words, you can be more selective in what should be included or omitted.
Summarize: When you summarize, you provide your readers with a condensed version of an author's key points. A summary can be as short as a few sentences or much longer, depending on the text and the level of detail you want to include.
Before you summarize a source in your paper, you should decide what your reader needs to know from that source. Use the summary to:
- Condense the material.
- To simplify the material.