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Citation Quick and Easy   Tags: citation  

Last Updated: Aug 3, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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What is citation?

A citation is a note you place in your paper, which lets the reader know whose ideas influenced your work.


Purpose of citation

  • Provide evidence that your work is not just based on uninformed opinion, but on well-researched, informed facts.
  • Help readers find the sources you used to inform your ideas.
  • Give credit to other authors for their original concepts.


Plagiarism is a serious offense. If none of the above reasons to cite moved you, the risk of plagiarizing should. Plagiarism can earn you a failing grade (some institutions immediately expel plagiarizers) and, in a professional environment, plagiarizing can get you fired. Develop good citation habits now.

Definition of Plagiarizing, from Merriam Webster's online dictionary

To steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own: use (another's production) without crediting the source.

To commit literary theft: present as new and original an idea derived from an existing source.

Check out McKillop Library's course guide about plagiarism.


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