Citation is foundational to research, publication, and information literacy.
Citation is the referencing of other researcher/writer's ideas so as to provide traces for future researchers to investigate, verify, or follow. It is also the prime way of preventing plagiarism by differentiating between another researcher's ideas and arguments from your own.
Cite (document) any ideas or direct quotes used.
Cite when you paraphrase (using concepts and quotes indirectly).
Cite terms unique to an author’s research.
Cite items when you include textual facts, numeric data, and/or visual information.
Do Not Cite: proverbs, cliche quotes, and common knowledge (examples: Barack Obama was the 44th U.S. President; Thomas Edison invented the phonograph; "Mona Lisa" was painted by Leonardo da Vinci; Hydrogen has the atomic number 1). For determining “common knowledge”, consider if a skilled researcher would need to verify. When in doubt, cite the item to be safe.
Note: Find out which citation style is required for your discipline or subject (ALA, MLA, CMS, etc.).
The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (Seventh Edition) is the official source for APA Style.
With millions of copies sold worldwide in multiple languages, it is the style manual of choice for writers, researchers, editors, students, and educators in the social and behavioral sciences, natural sciences, nursing, communications, education, business, engineering, and other fields.
Authoritative and Easy to Use
Known for its authoritative, easy-to-use reference and citation system, the Publication Manual also offers guidance on choosing the headings, tables, figures, language, and tone that will result in powerful, concise, and elegant scholarly communication.
It guides users through the scholarly writing process—from the ethics of authorship to reporting research through publication.
The MLA Handbook (Ninth Edition), the only authorized guide to MLA style, includes