Citing Sources: Citing Sources

Cite While You Write...It's That Easy

Our goal in the library is to support all researchers in identifying, finding, evaluating, and managing the resources needed for scholarly pursuit. All too often, students, in particular, consider citing and managing sources as what comes at the end of the research process. We understand students, entrenched in finding, analyzing, and evaluating sources, do not always stop and take careful notes.

Students think they can find it again later when polishing their draft. However, this practice is neither efficient or smart. Careless note-taking will NOT excuse you of plagiarism at GU-Q.

Why Use Sources?

The art of citation is a critical skill for all in the GU-Q community. Learning more about why  you cite and how to cite can assist you in avoiding plagiarism.  That is to say, when you are quoting or parapharsing another's thoughts or ideas, you must cite that author's work.  In doing so, you are showcasing both the author's analyses and ideas as proof of your own analyses or new idea in your writing or presentation. 

However, more than simply avoiding charges of plagiarism or violations of the Honor Council here at GU-Q, you are demonstrating your understanding of  the process of scholarly writing and situating yourself as a scholarly writer into this community of inquiry.  

 

Knowledge from Knowledge...

Consider this analogy.  Here at GU-Q we often refer to writing a research paper or organizing a scholarly presentation as  "joining a conversation," and this conversatation is a three step process.  

Students, especially, are expected to do the following:

  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of the reading material you have been assigned and/or gathered
  • Refer to the sources to support the ideas you have developed (Remember, knowledge from knowledge...)
  • Distinguish your analysis of the readings from the author's analyses.

What You Do Need to Cite

When you properly cite a source, you are showcasing both the author's analyses and ideas as proof of your own analyses or new idea in your writing.  


So...What do you need to cite?

  • Words or ideas presented in a popular magazine, book, newspaper, song, TV program, movie, Web page, computer program, letter, advertisement, or any other medium
  • Information you gain through interviewing or conversing with another person, face to face, over the phone, or in writing
  • When you copy the exact words or a unique phrase
  • When you reprint any diagrams, illustrations, charts, pictures, or other visual materials
  • When you reuse or repost any electronically-available media, including images, audio, video, or other

What You Don't Need to Cite

As an emerging scholarly writer, you do have life experiences, ideas, and knowledge to share with the GU-Q community.  

Here is  a short list of those elements you do NOT need to cite:

  • Writing about your life experiences, your own observations and insights, your own thoughts, and your own conclusions about a topic
  • When you are writing up your own results obtained through lab or field experiments
  • When you use your own artwork, digital photographs, video, audio, etc.
  • When you are using "common knowledge," things like folklore, common sense observations, myths, urban legends, and historical events 
  • When you are using generally-accepted facts, e.g., pollution is bad for the environment