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Citation Best Practices: Effective Citation

Using citation management to support ethical, high quality research

What to Cite

You can cite anything that you rely on to support an argument, counter an argument, build evidence for a conclusion you are making, for anything you represent, quote, summarize or paraphrase. 

  • Ideas
  • quotations
  • evidence
  • images
  • video clips 
  • research articles and books 
  • Your professor's lectures, notes, syllabus
  • a classmate's comments 

You'll want to cite whether what you cite is copyrighted or in the public domain.*

*Public domain is, for example, most US government documents, material published in the United States before 1925--this date goes up each year in January.)

Taking your place in the scholarly conversation

The scholarly conversation is ongoing. It reaches back to the earliest printed sources and continues all around you. When we write a paper or publish a book or article, we are engaging in a public exchange of ideas. Each engagement is built on previous engagements, whether we are countering a previous assertion or building on it. We are required to acknowledge it. But, it is also to our benefit. It places us within that conversation. 

How do I fit into this scholarly conversation

  • Take careful notes of everything you read, view, or with which you engage
  • Keep your notes organized and associated with the articles, books, images, documents you are reading
  • Using a citation management tool or platform will help you with keeping notes and materials together and with proper formatting.
  • A librarian can help you get started with a citation management tool. You can see more about citation management tools
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