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COMM 260 Curtin: Citing sources of evidence

Knowing when to cite a source

Here's the golden rule of knowing when to cite or not: 

There will never be a situation in which it is illegal, unethical, or a bad thing to cite a source. 

On the other hand, NOT citing sources is a punishable offense at SU.

When in doubt, cite it even if you do so really badly.

When to Cite: Advice from Princeton University

Cite any information that you have chosen to incorporate into your presentation Uses of such external information from sources include: 

1. Quotation. Any verbatim use of a source, no matter how large or small the quotation, must be placed in quotation marks and you must cite the source where you got the quote.

Example: "The main benefits of a vegetarian diet with respect to global warming would be a reduction in emissions from the energy used to transport meat from farm to fork" (Shaw & Horton, 2011, p. 303)

2. Paraphrase. Paraphrase is a restatement of another person’s thoughts or ideas in your own words, using your own sentence structure. A paraphrase is normally about the same length as the original. Although you don’t need to use quotation marks when you paraphrase, you absolutely do need to cite the source, either in parentheses or in a footnote. If another author’s idea is particularly well put, quote it verbatim and use quotation marks to distinguish his or her words from your own.

Example: Vegetariansim is also a good idea because meat farming produces emissions that contribute to global warming ((Shaw & Horton, 2011, p. 303)

3. Summary. Summary is a concise statement of another person’s thoughts or ideas in your own words. A summary is normally shorter than the original — a distillation of the source’s ideas. When summarizing other people’s ideas, arguments, or conclusions, you must cite your sources.

4. Facts, Information, and Data. Often you’ll want to use facts or information to support your own argument. If the information is found exclusively in a particular source, you must clearly acknowledge that source. For example, if you use data from a scientific experiment conducted and reported by a researcher, you must cite your source, probably a scientific journal or a website. 

This text comes directly from Princeton University's Academic Integrity 2011 publication:

Double check your citations

No technology is perfect. Easybib is a terrific time-saver, but double-check each and every citation that you create using it. 

Excellent examples for APA citations can be found at the Perdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL). 

APA Formatting and Style Guide - Purdue Online Writing Lab