A citation is the evidence that you have done research. Citations link your reader to the sources that informed your thinking and show that you are participating in a scholarly conversation. Offering a citation gives your readers and other scholars access to your information sources if they wish to follow-up, or find more information on your topic.
Why should I cite my sources?
What about common knowledge? Are those cited?
Plagiarism is using someone else's words and ideas as your own, with giving credit or attribution. It can done intentionally (such as submitting someone else's writing or assignment as your own) or unintentionally (such quoting from another paper without a proper attribution). Either way, it can have serious consequences!
Some examples of plagiarism:
You might think that everyone copies from the Internet because many websites appear anonymous. In academic writing, plagiarism is considered a serious offense because it shows disrespect for scholarly communication and principles of academic integrity.
Using other people's ideas to shape your own thinking is an important part of research. Just be sure you paraphrase, write concepts in your own words, and attribute ideas to their author appropriately.
When in doubt, cite!!
Questions about when and how to cite a specific source? Ask a librarian!