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Citing Sources: Introduction


Welcome to the Jefferson College Library's citation guide! You can use this guide to get started on citing books, articles, webpages, television shows, podcasts, and even images for your papers and projects. There are various citations styles that can be used, and most are tied to a specific discipline or group of disciplines. Check your syllabus or ask your professor if you are unsure which style you should be using--then click the corresponding tab.

Cite Your Sources

Why do you need to cite sources?

As the MLA Handbook (8th ed) will tell you:

“Academic writing is at its root a conversation among scholars about a topic or question. . . .Given the importance of this conversation to research, authors must have comprehensible, verifiable means of referring to one another’s work.  Such reference enable them to give credit to the precursors whose ideas they borrow, build on, or contradict and allow future researchers interested in the history of the conversation to trace it back to its beginning” (5).

As a student, part of your education includes learning documentation styles like MLA.  Learning MLA and other styles will help prepare you for other conventions and standards when you enter a career field.  Also, by carefully documenting your research and by identifying the ideas that you have borrowed, you will avoid plagiarism.  Plagiarism is a very serious offense involving the theft of intellectual property, and it can lead to embarrassment, loss of credibility, and even lawsuits (7).  You can avoid plagiarizing by citing other authors when you quote or paraphrase their words and ideas.  Check out the 'citation help' box (to the right) for resources on how to cite books, websites, and articles.  Make sure you are properly citing sources in your papers.

Work Cited

Modern Language Association of America. MLA Handbook, 8th edition, MLA, 2016.


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Further Assistance

For help with writing your research paper, consult Jefferson College's Online Writing Lab

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