Why Do I Have to Cite?


Having to write citations may seem like another boring step in the paper writing process. However, correctly citing sources in your research projects will ensure that you receive a better grade and create something that uniquely contributes to the subject area you are studying.

It doesn’t matter if you use MLA formatting, APA formatting, or any other citation style. Citing sources i something you should always do.

Here are just a few reasons why it is important for you to cite sources in your work:

Citations Provide Hard Evidence of Your Thesis/Ideas

Citing sources that back up your claim, otherwise known as your thesis statement, creates credibility for you as a researcher. It also opens up room for fact-checking and further research.

  • Bonus points: If you can, find a way to cite a few sources that have the converse opinion or idea, and then demonstrate to the reader why you believe that viewpoint is wrong while backing up your claim up with sources. If you can do this, you are well on their way to winning over the reader to your side.
  • Pro tip: Having many citations from a wide variety of sources related to your thesis indicates to your professor that you are working on a well-researched and respected subject.

Citations Give Credit to the Right People

Citing sources ensures that your reader or teacher can differentiate your original thoughts from the ideas in your sources and of other researchers in your subject area. This ensures that the sources you use receive proper credit for the author’s work, and that as the student, you receive deserved recognition for your unique contributions to the topic. Citations serve as a natural way to place your work within in the broader context of a subject area, and are an easy way for your teacher or professor to gauge your commitment to the project at hand. Going above and beyond in your work is always a good idea!

Citations Promote Originality and Prevent Plagiarism

The point of research projects is not to regurgitate information that can already be found elsewhere. We have Google for that! What your project should aim to do is promote an original idea or put a spin on an existing idea, and use credible sources to promote that idea. Copying or directly referencing a source without proper citations can lead to not only a poor grade, but accusations of academic dishonesty. By backing up your ideas with credible sources, you can easily avoid the trap of plagiarism, and promote further research on their topic. To help people find your unique perspective on your topic and create consistency throughout your work, it is always a good idea to use a specific, standardized citation style, such as APA format or MLA format.

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