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UMass Amherst Libraries

College Writing

English 112

Citations

What Is Citation?

A "citation" is the way you tell your readers that certain material in your work came from another source. It also gives your readers the information necessary to find that source again, including:

  • information about the author
  • the title of the work
  • the name and location of the company that published your copy of the source
  • the date your copy was published
  • the page numbers of the material you are borrowing

Why should I cite sources?


Giving credit to the original author by citing sources is the only way to use other people's work without plagiarizing. But there are a number of other reasons to cite sources:

  • citations are extremely helpful to anyone who wants to find out more about your ideas and where they came from
  • not all sources are good or right -- your own ideas may often be more accurate or interesting than those of your sources. Proper citation will keep you from taking the rap for someone else's bad ideas
  • citing sources shows the amount of research you've done
  • citing sources strengthens your work by lending outside support to your ideas
  • Doesn't citing make my work seem less original?
  • Not at all. On the contrary, citing sources actually helps your reader distinguish your ideas from those of your sources. This will actually emphasize the originality of your own work.

When do I need to cite?


Whenever you borrow words or ideas, you need to acknowledge their source. The following situations almost always require citation:

  • whenever you use quotes
  • whenever you paraphrase
  • whenever you use an idea that someone else has already expressed
  • whenever you make specific reference to the work of another
  • whenever someone else's work has been critical in developing your own ideas

Taken from p.org

Choosing a style

Because there is no one standard citation style used at UMass:

  • Ask your professor or TA which style s/he prefers for the course.
  • Consult a style guide for examples of using various citation styles to create in-text citations, bibliographies and reference lists, or use citation software to assist you in tracking sources used and building in-text citations and bibliographies.
  • Use a standard style, such as APA, and be consistent with it throughout your paper.
  • Ask for citation and paper-writing assistance at the UMass Amherst Writing Center

 

Citation Guides

Not only do you need to cite your sources, but you need to format them according to a particular style. Your instructor will often ask you to use a certain style in your paper. Here are links for more information about the styles commonly used in the health sciences:

Manage your References

Use these tools to help you organize and cite your references:

Citation Managers at UMass

Mendeley

Zotero