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Political Science & International Studies Resources

Why do We Cite?

You need to cite whenever you use an idea, thought or quotation from someone else or another source. Cite when you:

  • use the ideas or research of another person or entity.
  • use direct quotations that are written or spoken
  • paraphrase written or spoken material
  • use information that is not common knowledge

To give credit to the original author and to help you avoid plagiarism

Whenever you use an idea, thought or quote from someone else or another source, you must give credit for the idea to the original author.  If you do not give credit, you will be committing plagiarism, a serious offense in any academic community.  The reader of your research or paper will think, incorrectly, that you have come up with that creative, original idea yourself.  To ensure copyright use these tools to credit and let the reader know the source of your thoughts and research.

To create a path for you and your readers to find and read your sources

If you, or your readers, want to to go back and read any of the sources that you used for your paper, a proper citations gives everyone all the information to find the articles, books, and websites that you used.

To give you credibility

Good citations give you credibility.  A reader can look at your bibliography and see what sources you used and where you found them.  Citations tell the reader that you did your research and put time into your paper making you more believable.


Why You Need to Cite Sources

why you need to cite

Cooperative Library Instruction Project. (N.D.) Why you need to cite sources [Video file]. Retrieved from

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