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SOCA: Sociology: Citing Sources

Learn about citing the sources you find, citation styles, citation generators, and resources available to help you with citations.

Why Cite?

‚ÄčThrough 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:

  • it shows your professor that you actually did research on your topic and gained new knowledge
  • anyone reading your work can check to see if they agree with your interpretation of the information
  • acknowledging other people's ideas is academically honest and helps you avoid plagiarism

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.

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.

APA Citation

APA (American Psychological Association) style is the most frequently used citation format within the social sciences, including sociology. Below is a link to NCC's APA citation guide. You can also pick up the blue APA handout in the library or learning center.