8.1 – Why Do We Cite?

Learning Objective

After completing this chapter, you will be able to:

  • Identify why using citations is important.

It’s important to understand why citations are a fundamental part of any research assignment, aside from being a requirement. A citation is a reference to a source that contains key pieces of information about that source in order to find them.

The following are 3 key reasons why citing is important.

Reason 1:  For Scholarly Communication

By reading, analyzing, and including scholarly sources in your assignments, you are contributing to and participating in scholarly communication!

You grow in your understanding of a field of study by learning from its subject experts.


Reason 2:  To Give Credit and Show Professionalism

Open book with magnifier and pen laying on page and surrounded by tabletop globes.
Photo from NorQuest College Library is used under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

This is key for showing professionalism and evidence in your paper.

You will mainly use scholarly and professional sources as evidence to support your research and give credit to their findings. Citations allow others (and you!) to find the sources used in your paper to learn more about them.

Reason 3:  To Avoid Plagiarism

Watch this short video to learn about plagiarism and how to avoid it.

Watch What is APA? on YouTube (3 mins)

Video source: Georgian College Academic Success. (2022, August 19). What is APA? [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/1oj3ngPYBRU

Key Takeaways

The main reasons why we cite are to:

    1. Participate in scholarly communication,
    2. Give credit to our sources,
    3. Avoid plagiarism.

Attributions & References

This chapter (images, text & video) is adapted from “Why do we cite?” In APA Style Citation Tutorial by Sarah Adams and Debbie Feisst, University of Alberta Library, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 International License


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8.1 - Why Do We Cite? Copyright © 2022 by Jen Booth, Emily Cramer & Amanda Quibell, Georgian College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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