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Students Working in Interdisciplinary Groups (SWIG): How to Cite

A guide for faculty and students working on SWIG projects

Citing Sources

Why do I need to cite sources I use for information in my academic work?

There are three important reasons that we (researchers, students, citizens, netizens, employees, artists, etc.) cite sources of information we use:

  • to give credit where credit is due,
  • to avoid plagiarism, and
  • to provide information that allows readers/viewers to access the original source of the information.

In academic communities and workplaces, accepted practice requires that you cite any information or ideas that you found in someone else's work. If you use someone else's information, ideas, words, photographs, etc. without attributing or citing them, you are plagiarizing (see video on the right below), and often the penalty for plagiarizing in college is to receive a grade of F on the assignment or to receive an F for the course, and possibly to be expelled from the college.

When should I cite information from sources I use?

You should cite information from other sources any time you use someone else's information, ideas, words, photographs, etc.

How do I cite sources I use?

Many instructors require that you use MLA, APA, ASA, or Chicago citation styles, which have particular guidelines for citing sources (see information under the Citing Sources tab on the Library's homepage). No matter which citation style you use, your citations will include the following:

Who: the name of the person or organization who created the document, photograph, etc.

What: the title of the document, photograph, etc.

When: the date the document, photograph, etc. was published or posted (if available)

Where: the location of where the document, photograph, etc. was published or posted