Why Do We Cite?

Why Do We Cite?

Learning Outcome

After completing this chapter, you will be able to:

  • Identify why using citations is important.

It’s important to understand why citations are a fundamental part of any research project. A citation is a reference to an information source that contains key publication details about that source in order to allow others to find it.

Three reasons why citation is important

Reason 1:  For scholarly communication

By reading, analyzing, and citing scholarly sources in your assignments, you are contributing to and participating in scholarly communication! You grow in your understanding of a field of study by learning from its subject experts.

Reason 2:  To give credit and show professionalism

Giving credit is key for showing professionalism and giving evidence in your paper. You will mainly use scholarly and professional sources to support your research and to give other researchers credit for their findings. Citations allow others (and you!) to find the sources used in your paper to learn more about them.

Reason 3:  To avoid plagiarism
You are required to give credit to your sources in order to avoid the consequences of plagiarism. Watch the short video below to learn about plagiarism and how to avoid it.

Module 5.1 – Plagiarism Video Transcript

It might help to think: is this my own idea, or did I read or hear about it in one of my sources? If it came from somewhere else, cite it.


The main reasons why we cite are to:

    1. Participate in scholarly communication
    2. Give credit to our sources
    3. Avoid plagiarism

Image attribution

Open Book Library” by lil_foot_ is licensed under Pixabay License, no attribution required.

Silhouette Head Bookshelf Knowledge” by Gerd Altmann is licensed under Pixabay License, no attribution required.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

MLA Style Citation Tutorial Copyright © 2022 by University of Alberta Library and NorQuest College Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book