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Syracuse University Libraries

Library Research Guide for ENL 213

Why Cite Your Sources?

Citing sources, which means giving credit within your work to those from whom you've borrowed ideas, words, or materials, is an important part of the resource process and includes knowing when to cite, understanding style guides, and making use of available tools. Citing your source is important for several reasons, including:

  • showing your reader you've done proper research by listing sources you used to get your information;
  • giving credit to other researchers and ethically acknowledging their ideas;
  • allowing your reader to track down the sources you used by citing them accurately in your paper by way of footnotes, a bibliography or reference list;
  • and avoiding plagiarism, which is when you use another person's ideas or writing as your own.

Plagiarism is considered a serious offense at Syracuse University. Common examples of plagiarism include copying and pasting text from the internet without citing the source, changing a few words of another person's writing and passing it off as your own, quoting a source without properly citing it, and reusing your work from one class for another class (self-plagiarism). The Academic Integrity Office website includes SU's current policies and procedures for handling cases of plagiarism and other violations of academic integrity. The site also includes helpful tips for avoiding plagiarism.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: Please take a couple of minutes to complete this Why Citation Matters tutorial that provides hands-on practice with citing sources (NetID & password required).

Citation Styles

Depending on personal preference or publisher requirements, scholars generally need to choose one citation style when writing up their research. You can learn more about various citation styles by visiting our research guide on this subject.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: View one of the following videos or tutorials related to a citation style that you might use for your paper (NetID & password required): 

Additional Citation Help