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Why Learn How to Cite Sources

Dirty Work for Sure

If you hate citations and everything connected with them, the message this page carries is intended for you.

Citing stuff is dirty work. Nobody wants to do it. You may spend hours thinking about how to cite your sources and not be rewarded in any way. If you think your professors don’t check the quality of your citations too thoroughly, you are probably right. Many of them don’t. Yet there is other side to learning how to cite sources.

The Unknown Side of Citations

Citations are the reason why there is no chaos and confusion in the world of information. It is the reason why you don’t see tons of contradicting claims not knowing which to believe. It is also what gives the reader the right to decide on their own whether the presented info is trustworthy or not. If the reader doubts whether the fact is true, they just look at the reference and, depending on the quality of the reference, decide whether to accept the info or reject it as trash. That’s how the world of information has not become a dumpster and that’s why each one of us has their own beliefs.

You are probably familiar with the internet term “trolling”. Just in case you are not, the term refers to providing irrelevant and misleading information with the purpose other than contributing sound info to the discussion. Funny as it is but trolling happens in journalism and academia as well, and it happens more often than you think it does. There are plenty of academic works around that have had unsupported facts inserted into them for the sole purpose of making the support or rejection of the main thesis of the work easier. Citations, which are now required almost everywhere, fight academic trolling and the other types of release of unsupported and misguiding info.

Everyone doesn’t claim everything just because of how common the use of citations has become. This is a great achievement and a consequence of a human’s tendency to simplify the world and the jobs that need to be performed.

Citations in Life

Even if you are positive that you won’t need the knowledge of how to cite sources in your future life, you better make sure you know how to read citations both in text and outside of the text body. You will encounter plenty of those when reading books for leisure and when reading informational - marketing ads.

Other than sciences, the business field is full of citations. Management and Economics are as well. In fact, no product/idea innovation happens without grounded description and presentation of the preceding products/ideas. Yes, even ideas have to be cited. Propositions even more so. They need to come from a credible cited source to be considered as sufficient ground for the further development of whatever.

Learning How to Cite

A common question “how do you cite a source?” can easily baffle an inexperienced writer. Being good at citations is an art. It requires an eagle eye, and it is professors, no matter what field, who are the gurus of citing. The time-proven way to learn how to cite sources in a paper is to go to your professors’ office hours and ask them to explain the conceptual architecture of each citation style. Only having understood it, can you remember it. “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand,” Confucius said as if telling all those struggling with citations to practice more.

If you would like to follow the footsteps of your professors into the education field, prepare for some classes on citation styles only. There are entire books and even encyclopedias where you can find profound info on how to cite your work properly. If you were to be presented with all the rules on this page, there simply wouldn’t be enough room to include all the rules for citing the info taken from articles, books, websites, interviews, class lectures, online articles, researches, questionnaires, polls, etc. Think of how many information sources there are. There are even more ways to cite them.

And how do you cite sources? There are actually three widely-accepted ways to cite (i.e., citation styles): MLA, Chicago and APA. You surely know that MLA is usually used for English-classes assignments with APA common in sciences and Chicago in the news field. It all depends on the teacher though and the complexity of the topic. Talk to them more and you should be fine. Not if you plagiarize though.

Did you actually know that everyone plagiarizes? Even those who do not attempt to plagiarize. Every single piece of writing has a plagiarism rate, since some phrases are used by many and since some facts are hard to present in many ways. That’s why you should use our service.

Stick With Us and You Will Be Fine!

This is how you would cite this page:


"Why Learn How To Cite Sources." PlagiarismDetect.org. PlagiarismDetect, n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2012. http://plagiarismdetect.org/how-to-cite-sources.html sources.


Unknown author. (November 7, 2012). How To Cite Sources. Retrieved from http://plagiarismdetect.org/how-to-cite-sources.html sources.


PlagiarismDetect. "Why Learn How To Cite Sources." Last modified March 11, 2009. http://plagiarismdetect.org/how-to-cite-sources.html sources.

Please note, we do not guarantee that the citing requirements do not change. They change a lot and the citing rules might be different from the rules we used to cite this page. Please refer to the official style guides for the most up-to-date information.