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When to Cite
You need to cite:
- anytime you use someone else's ideas
- when you summarize or paraphrase text from a source
- when you directly quote information that you took from a source
- if the information is highly debatable
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.
Check Your Professor's Instructions First!
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.
Why and How Do I Cite Sources?
Why do you need to cite sources?
While preparing a research paper, you will gather information that supports your ideas, which you find in works created by others. A citation gives your reader the information needed to locate these works. If you don't credit the authors by citing their works in your paper, you are committing plagiarism, which is not acceptable at Northampton Community College.
For help with citations, pick up one of these handouts at any campus Library or Learning Center, or view the handouts online, at the links below:
NCC Library MLA Handout
The MLA Handout contains both parenthetical (in-text) and Works Cited page examples. Find out how to cite books, database articles, and more!
NCC Library APA Handout
The APA Citation Handout contains both parenthetical (in-text) and References examples. Find out how to cite books, database articles, and more!
NCC Library Chicago Manual of Style Handout
Our Chicago handout summarizes basic information about CMOS style, footnotes, and bibliography formatting.