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Citing Sources

A guide to citation styles, citation examples, and understanding plagiarism.

Why Should You Cite Your Sources?


You should always be sure to cite your sources in order to: 

  • Give credit to ideas that you did not come up with;
  • Provide justification and support for your argument;
  • Help future researchers (and your professor!) go back and locate the sources you used;
  • Follow Augustana College's Honor Code


What Should be Cited?

A general rule of thumb for citation is that you should always cite: 

  • Any quotations or uses of exact wording you use from any source;
  • Paraphrases of source material;
  • Summaries of other people's work;
  • Ideas that you did not come up with on your own; 
  • The work of your classmates or professors (including class lectures and notes); 
  • Your own previous work

You do not have to cite information that is generally considered to be common knowledge (i.e. Washington D.C. is the capital of the United States; or The Declaration of Independence was issued on July 4, 1776).


How Do You Guarantee Your Citations are Accurate?


For most citation styles, you should at the very least include:

  • An in-text citation that tells the reader exactly where you got the information from; and
  • A running list of the works you have consulted (also known as "Work Cited", "References", etc) that lists all of your sources of information. 

Beyond this, the accuracy of your citations depends on the individual rules of the citation style you are using. You will likely determine the citation style you need to use according to either:

  • your professor's preference (always check with your professor first to determine this);
  • your discipline's standard; or
  • your personal preference.

Once you have chosen your citation style, you can consult the Citation Style Guides to determine the information necessary for accurate citing.