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        5 Reasons to Cite Your Sources Properly | Avoid Plagiarism!

        • calenderJun 06, 2024
        • calender 4 min read

        If you’re a researcher, you probably know that all research exists in a context. While writing your paper, you’re bound to use ideas, arguments, and supporting evidence from other researchers. But how does anyone track which ideas are your own and which ones are borrowed? That’s where citations come in. So if you’ve been wondering, “Why is citation important?”, your confusion ends now!

        So, why is it important that you cite your sources? The short answer is, to ensure you’re not stealing anyone’s work. For the long answer, you’ll have to read the article. Explore the article to understand both the ethical and practical reasons behind citing your sources. Without further ado, allow us to explain the importance of citing sources

        Get cross-checked citations and professional editing today!

        #1 Credits the authors whose ideas you’ve used

        As we learn why citing sources is important, we should remember that research is difficult and painstaking. Students and professionals make great efforts to create original knowledge in their field. So, their hard work and contributions deserve to be acknowledged when others use their work. 

        Imagine having to start from scratch in your niche, having no prior data or theories to rely on! You enjoy the fruits of your predecessors’ labor, and so it’s your responsibility to credit them for it. So make sure to follow the dos and don’ts of academic writing where citations are concerned!

        #2 Establishes your credibility and authority

        Citing relevant and high-quality sources shows that your work is based on reliable information. Accuracy is important in writing, especially when you’re quoting facts and figures. When someone reads your paper, citations will help them look up your sources. In this way, citations serve as an accuracy check. Your readers can use them to double-check a direct quote, analyze your data, or contextualize your work. 

        Another reason for citing your sources at the college level is to show your instructor that you’ve done your research. You can use a mix of primary (original research, interviews, surveys) and secondary (reviews, analyses) sources. A solid works cited list proves your engagement with, and authority on, your topic.

        #3 Strengthens your arguments

        Why is citing sources important? Because it provides evidence from reputable sources that support your arguments and strengthen your position. This is an essential step in the MEAL paragraph. Ideally, your writing should analyze the passage or data you’re citing. 

        However, take care not to over-rely on your sources. Often, college students take citations to an extreme. You don’t want to submit a paper that’s just a summarization of two existing papers with opposing views! Your paper should present a strong argument by presenting existing research along with your unique take on it.

        #4 Makes you a better researcher

        Citing specific sources for the facts presented in your paper removes generalizations, clichés, and outright false claims. So when you cite sources properly, you leave no question in your readers’ minds regarding your argument. Citations improve the quality of your research and writing.

        Academic writing is a highly formal writing style with specific rules and regulations. When you pay attention to the little referencing details such as italicization and punctuation, such checks become a habit. This helps you develop the sincerity and research ethics you need to become a good researcher.

        #5 Helps you steer clear of plagiarism

        While this is quite self-explanatory, it’s just as important! You may not actively seek to plagiarize someone’s work, but a missing citation can count the same. Since plagiarism is a grievous offense in academic research, you want to avoid it at all costs. At the very least, the instructor will dock 

        So, always double-check your in-text citations with the corresponding entries in your works cited page or annotated bibliography. Remember, meticulous referencing is what separates a well-written paper from an academically dishonest one! 

        When should you cite your sources?

        Here are the instances when you should cite your sources:

        • When you use an exact quote from someone’s work.
        • When you rephrase an idea or information.
        • When you summarize a work in however brief a manner.
        • When you mention works of literature.
        • When you use factual information, data, or statistics from another work.
        • When you discuss specific theories, models, or frameworks developed by others.
        • When you use photographs, diagrams, videos, or any multimedia that you did not create.
        • When you mention any information that isn’t common knowledge.

        So why is it important to cite your sources properly? Citing sources protects intellectual property, bolsters credibility, and fuels academic exchange. It also ensures accuracy, prevents plagiarism, and aids in future research. Different citation styles prioritize different aspects from the lists above.

        The MLA citation format prioritizes the work and publisher over the year of publication. The APA citation format, however, prioritizes the publication date over publisher details. Both formats reflect the major concerns of the disciplines in which they’re used.

        We hope you found our guide on the importance of citation useful. If you need an academic expert to review your writing before you submit it, our paper editing services are perfect for you.

        Here are some more resources on citations and formatting:

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        Prasanna Linkedin

        Prasanna is on a little break from academia and spends his time compiling fiction writing tips. He enjoys poetry, mythology, and drawing lotuses on any surface he can find.

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