You took all that trouble to find the sources, now why cite them and give away all the credit? Apart from a bad grade? Research papers aren’t just busy work! They require you to use those critical thinking skills! Your paper is not supposed to be regurgitating what you read, but understanding the context of your topic and then drawing your own conclusions!
Citations also help establish your paper as an academic work. Including citations and references help your instructor the same way that citations in your sources’ works help you–they allow us to trace the breadcrumbs back to where you found your facts so we know you are authoritative and scholarly!
Everyone borrows ideas and information from others, but you most acknowledge those “others” and give credit where credit is due! You wouldn’t want anyone lifting your research paper without giving you the proper citation. It allows you to avoid plagiarism, a bad grade and a guilty conscious!
COCC Barber Library Citation Resources make this easier!
- If you search from the library database, you can get citation information right from the article (depending on the database)
- KnightCite asks you to find the essential information (author, date, publisher, etc.) and then will do the formatting for you!
- Zotero is a citation service that you download and install on your computer and will find all the essential information and format it automatically. Watch this short (1:52) tutorial for more information
- The Purdue OWL guide is a handy resource that can help you make citations on your own, but also verify that those machines are on point!
- Protip: All the automatic, computer-generated citations are made from machines and machines can be stupid! Always check your citations with the Purdue OWL guide, a librarian or your instructor to confirm they are correct!
- Protip: Don’t do all your research and then lose track of what information came from where! Keep track of your sources by emailing your articles to yourself directly from the database, or using a note-taking service like Evernote.