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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

BIOLOGY 312 Writing In Biology - Joshua Lonthair

Citations as Conversation and Reputation

When you cite a source, you are telling your reader "this is information is high quality.  I am willing to trust this information and design an experiment - invest time and research funding - based on these data."  You're also giving your reader an idea of what was going through your head when you were writing.  Since your assignments for this class are summarizing the topic, your sources are the way you inform your reader of the information you were working from.

Citations are the way your audience can follow in your footsteps, as it were.  When done correctly, citations in articles hundreds of years old can cite sources hundreds of year older - and you, the reader, have enough information to find a copy.  Please take a few moments to make sure your readers have complete and properly formatted citations to begin their search!

I'm sure you've cited sources in papers before.  But for a (very) brief refresher of how it works and why we do it, check out this video from the librarians at North Carolina State University.  

This video is licensed under CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0.  Credit goes to:

  • Anne Burke: Project Lead, Script, Storyboards
  • Daria Dorafshar: Graphics and Animation
  • Kyle Langdon: Narration
  • Andreas Orphanides: Writing, Editing, Technical Infrastructure
  • Kim Duckett: Team Lead

Citation Style Example: APA

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.  For this course, you will need to choose a style and stick to it.  There are many choices available to you.  Here are some resources for using APA.  If you choose a different style, the Libraries will have similar resources available.

The UMass Amherst Writing Center

Academic Honesty & Plagiarism

"Academic dishonesty is prohibited in all programs of the University, including online courses.  Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to: cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and facilitating dishonesty."
 - University of Massachusetts Amherst Academic Honesty Policy [Complete Policy]

Here are some links with more information and specific examples: