Skip to main content

Plagiarism: What it is and how to avoid it

Why cite?

There are several reasons why it is important to cite your sources properly.

  • It is important to give credit to the person or group who discovered or created that information.
  • It allows your reader to find the source later if she wants to read it herself.
  • Citing experts gives credibility to the argument of your paper.
  • Proper citing indicates that you did a thorough job researching your topic.

Citation Help!

Citation Managers let you

  • Import citations from the catalog and databases
  • Store and organize citations
  • Add research notes
  • Format in-text citations
  • Create bibliographies in different citation styles

Citation Style Guides show you how to

  • Document the sources you are using in your work
  • Create citations manually for all types of sources
  • Embed quotations and paraphrases properly in your text

What is a citation?

A citation is the information needed to locate the article (or book).

For articles, a complete citation generally includes:

  • The author's name 
  • The title of the article 
  • The name of the magazine or journal in which it is located 
  • The volume number of the magazine or journal (and sometimes the issue number) 
  • The page numbers on which the article is located 
  • The date when the article was published

For books, a complete citation generally includes:

  • The author's name 
  • The title of the book 
  • The publication date
  • The city in which the book was published 
  • The book's publisher

Citations are also used to help readers of your papers find the information you used.

GW Libraries • 2130 H Street NW • Washington DC