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Whether you a doing a research paper, a term paper or even many book reports, if you gather any of your information and facts from a reference source, you need to always disclose that source within your paper in two ways. First, with a citation within the body of the paper and second by including a listing, index or appendix of all of the sources at the end of the paper.
Why is it important to have sources? First, you need to make your paper credible by including facts, that is reliable facts. However, it isn’t enough to just say something like, “In a public study it was learned that 62% of the population are transplants from other areas of the country.” The reader will think, “What study?” or “Where did you get the 62% from.”
So you need to give a citation to where you got the information from. That citation will allow the reader to go to the source of your information and read it firsthand. In addition, if you don’t give a citation, your paper could be considered plagiarism – something you never want to do or have happen.
A citation is a reference to either a published or unpublished source that lets the reader know that the material is not original to the author.
Plagiarism is the wrongful use of another’s piece of work, generally written piece of work, without giving credit to the original author. In short, plagiarism is “stealing” from a source.
So what things in particular do you need to cite?
First, you need to cite any direct quotes a person makes.
Second, you need to cite summarized materials.
Third, you need to cite any other author’s research, papers, theories and/or ideas.
Fourth, you need to cite all polls, statistical analysis, historical and scientific facts used.
Fifth, you need to cite any books, articles, magazines, newspapers, letters, diaries, journals or interviews that were included within the body of your paper.
There are a few things that you do not need to cite. These include:
First, any proverbs or well-known sayings such as “Don’t cry over spilt milk.”
Second, any well-known quotes such as, “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
Third, any common knowledge materials such as reporting that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb or Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity by tying a key to a kite string and flying it in a thunderstorm.
How to Include Your Citations Within the Body of the Paper
Direct quotes and information obtained: The citation you give should always be placed within parentheses “( )” at the end of the material being cited. For example, say that you listed a direct quote from a book written by Mark Twain. In the body of your paper you might do the following:
In Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer, the character Ben said, “Hello, old chap, you got to work, hey?” (Twain 31)
The parentheses (Twain 31) tells the reader the author (last name only) and what page number they will find the statement made by the character Ben. Note that you do not put a comma (,) between the author’s last name and the page number. This method is also true when the writer makes reference to a source without including a direct quote such as the following:
Tom Sawyer did not believe the world was hollow. He also learned about the meaning of coveting things. (Twain 34)
In this short piece, if the reader were to go to page 34 in Tom Sawyer, they could see where and how the writer knew this bit of information. No direct quote was used but what Tom believed and learned is stated on page 34.
When citing attributions, or in other words, when citing what the author themselves stated, you should cite it as follows:
Joanna Tinsley stated that she was “looking into finding a cure for early-onset dementia in Asia.” (122)
In this case you have cited who the author or person you are writing about or who is related to the topic of your paper said and then in parentheses only the page where that source came from is given.
Same Last Name, Multiple Works or No Author
Same Name: What do you do if you are including source materials from people who have the same last name? In this case you would include the first initial of each person in your citation. For example, if one source was by Amy Smith and another source was by William Smith, your citation would either be (A. Smith 14) or (W. Smith 10).
Multiple Works: Now what if you have several different sources by the same author? In this case you would include part of the title in your parentheses. For example, (Jones, “Willowbrook” 37) and (Jones, “Trailblazer” 25). Notice that at this point a comma (,) is now included after the author’s name.
No Author: Sometimes you will come across written materials that do not include an author’s name, in this case you include part of the title and the page number only. For example, (“Jigsaw” 7).
Today with the internet we can obtain a vast array of sources. When using a website source you should include the author, URL address, page number as follows: (Green, http://www.readymadedesks, 12). If there is no author you can just list the URL and page number (http://www.juicer, 16) or you can list the title and page number or screen number as (“Jokes for Kids” 22).
How to Include Your Citations in the Index/Appendix
In the body of your paper the citation is very short and brief. When you get to the Index or Appendix, the information you give to your reader will include more information for them to find the source. In the Index/Appendix, your citations should be listed as follows:
1. Books: Author’s last name first followed by a comma and then their first name followed by a semi-colon or a period and then the title of the book (full title – no abbreviation), followed by a semi-colon, followed by place of publication followed by a semi-colon, followed by the name of the publisher followed by a comma followed by the date of publication and page number if appropriate. Here is an example:
Reynolds, Grayson; “How to Install New Windows;” New York City, New York; Dayton Publishing, 2004
2. Magazines and Newspapers: These are cited much like the book but in place of the place of publication and the publisher you will list the magazine or newspaper’s name, followed by the page number and ending with the full date. For example:
Jackson, Jennifer; “Children Living Off of the Streets;” Philadelphia Daily News, pp. 32, July 18, 2012
3. Interviews: When including material from an interview it should include the name of the interviewer first, the name of the interviewee, how the interview was conducted (i.e., face to face meeting, by telephone, by tape recording, etc.) and the date of the interview.
As you get into writing more and more papers that include resource materials, you will run into a number of different formats that will need to be cited in the body and in the index/appendix. Most all sources should include the order of the book and or magazines and newspapers in such a way that it will be easy for the reader to locate the original source.
Now that you’ve had a review of some of the citing techniques, it’s time to see if you can put that knowledge to use. Look at the following problems and see if you can find the right answers.