Through research, you will gather information that supports your ideas, which you find in sources created by others. A citation gives your reader the information needed to locate these works. Citing these sources is important because:
If you don't credit the authors of your sources by citing them in your paper, you are committing plagiarism, which is not acceptable at Northampton Community College.
If your professor has given specific instructions about the citation style you should use or how citations should be formatted for their assignments, always follow those instructions.
You need to cite:
You don’t need to cite your own opinions and insight, and you don’t need to cite facts that are common knowledge (information repeated in multiple sources that is widely known or accepted as a fact).
When in doubt, it's best to cite.
Each discipline and area of study has a citation style or guide that outlines citation rules for writing in that area of study.
Citation styles differ in regards to formatting and the details of how source information appears, but much of the information required for the citations is the same.
For most citation styles, there are two aspects that work together:
The citation styles you'll most likely encounter at NCC are MLA (Modern Language Association), APA (American Psychological Association), and the Chicago Manual of Style.
No online citation tool or software is perfect. They can find the wrong information for the source you are using. If you enter incorrect information or do not include some information, then the citation they create will be incorrect.
The library's databases may provide a citation for a source you find in them, but this should only be used as a starting point. They may not be entirely accurate, either. They often include too much information or are formatted incorrectly (they might be missing hanging indents, italicization, or double-spacing).
It is up to you to check the accuracy of your citations before submitting research papers or other class assignments.