"You know that instructors want you to cite your sources, but do you know why citations are so important?"
As described in section 4.0 of the MLA Handbook, "academic writing is a conversation that draws on research about a topic or question." In other words, scholars and researchers build on and respond to the work of others and they acknowledge this earlier work by citing all of their sources.
What is a citation?
Citations acknowledge and clearly identify the sources you used. This is done in the following way:
How to Cite
Citation styles provide guidelines and instructions for the handling and formatting of citations.
The most commonly used citation styles are APA, MLA and Chicago. Each discipline or area of study has their own conventions when it comes to citations and citation guidelines. For example, APA is the standard format used in Psychology. Disciplines such as English and Drama use MLA. Chicago is used by some disciplines in the Social Sciences. Some disciplines use a different set of guidelines (something other than APA, MLA or Chicago).
Your professors will guide you to the citation style used in each of your courses. If you're ever unsure about which citation style to use, ask your professor or a librarian.
You can find guides (with examples and sample citations) to the APA, MLA and Chicago Citation Styles on the library's Citation Guides page.
Copies of the APA Manual, MLA Handbook and Chicago Manual of Style are available in the library and the MLA Handbook and Chicago Manual of Style are also available as ebooks. Access details can be found on the APA, MLA and Chicago Style Guide pages.
What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism is cheating. It is a serious academic offence punishable according to the regulations of the Academic Integrity Policy and can lead to a failing grade in the course and even expulsion. Knowing how to avoid plagiarism is an important part of academic work.
Here are a few examples:
It is also possible to plagiarize yourself. Examples of self-plagiarism can include:
Have questions or need help?
Ask a Librarian -- you can find all of the different ways to reach us on the Research Help page.
Section 10.6 of the Mount Allison University Academic Calendar outlines the University's policies regarding academic dishonesty.