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Research Help: Citation

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When You Need to Cite

If you incorporate or refer to others’ words or ideas in your paper, you must give credit to the author. A parenthetical citation in the text of your paper and a Works Cited entry are required for all of the following:

  • Direct quotations (entire sentences or phrases)
  • Paraphrases (rephrased or summarized information)
  • Words or phrases coined by an author to describe his or her research, theories, or ideas
  • Use of an author’s argument or line of thinking Historical, statistical, or scientific facts Articles or studies referred to in your paper 


When Is It OK Not to Cite?

There are a few instances where information is so well known that a specific source does not need to be credited. The following types of information do not require a citation. However, these categories can be vague (especially “common knowledge”). When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to cite the source.

  • Proverbs, axioms, or sayings
  • Well-known quotations
  • Common knowledge
  • Statistics and information that can be found in several sources and are not likely to vary from source to source