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Citations - APA: General

Citations

What is a Citation? 

A "citation" is the way you tell your readers that certain material in your work came from another source. It also gives your readers the information necessary to find that source again, including: 

  • Information about the author.
  • Title of the work.
  • Name and location of the company that published your copy of the source.
  • Date your copy was published.
  • Page numbers of the material you are borrowing.

Why Cite?

Giving credit to the original author by citing sources is the only way to use other people's work without plagiarizing. But there are a number of other reasons to cite sources:

  • Citations are extremely helpful to anyone who wants to find out more about your ideas and where they came from.
  • Not all sources are good or right -- your own ideas may often be more accurate or interesting than those of your sources. Proper citation will keep you from taking the rap for someone else's bad ideas.
  • Citing sources shows the amount of research you've done.
  • Citing sources strengthens your work by lending outside support to your ideas.

When to Cite?

Whenever you borrow words or ideas, you need to acknowledge their source. The following situations almost always require citation:

  • Quotations.
  • Paraphrasing.
  • Using an idea that someone else has already expressed.
  • Making specific reference to the work of another.
  • Someone else's work has been critical in developing your own ideas.

"What is a Citation?." Plagiarism.org. iParadigms, LLC, 2015. Web. 22 Nov. 2015. http://www.plagiarism.org/.

Reference Sources

Reference Sources

APA

APA style was created by the American Psychological Association. It is a set of rules for publications, including research papers.

In APA, you must cite sources that you have paraphrased, quoted or otherwise refer to in your research paper.

Cite your sources in two places:

  1. In the body of your paper with an in-text citation.
  2. In the References list at the end of your paper.

This research guide is based on the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). The contents are accurate to the best of our knowledge. Some examples illustrate Seneca Libraries' recommendations and are marked as modifications of the official APA guidelines. 

Commonly Used Terms

Commonly Used Terms

Citing The process of acknowledging the sources of your information and ideas.
DOI Some electronic content, such as online journal articles, is assigned a unique number called a Digital Object Identifier (D O I or doi). Items can be tracked down online using their doi.
In-Text Citation A brief note at the point where information is used from a source to indicate where the information came from. An in-text citation should always match more detailed information that is available in the Reference List.
Paraphrasing Taking information that you have read and putting it into your own words.
Plagiarism Taking, using, and passing off as your own, the ideas or words of another.
Quoting The copying of words of text originally published elsewhere. Direct quotations generally appear in quotation marks and end with a citation.
Reference Details about one cited source.
Reference List Contains details on ALL the sources cited in a text or essay, and supports your research and/or premise.
Retrieval Date Used for websites where content is likely to change over time (e.g. Wikis), the retrieval date refers to the date you last visited the website.

This guide is used/adapted with the permission of Seneca College Libraries. For information please contact lcc@senecacollege.ca.

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