Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

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 20052202.994.6558AskUs@gwu.edu