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Academic Writing and Citation

This guide provides time-tested strategies on becoming comfortable with the writing process, resources on citation styles, and information on how to avoid plagiarism.

Why must we use citations?

There are many reasons to cite your sources.  These two are the most important:

  • Citing your sources makes it possible for your readers to locate/view the sources you used:  Citations make it possible for someone reading your work to find and read/view the actual sources that you used in your paper or research. Ideally, the citation is constructed in such a way as to make it easy for someone else to locate the exact same sources you used.

  • Citing gives credit where credit is due:  When you use the intellectual property of others (their ideas, theories, analyses, images, music, etc.), whether you quote them directly (word for word), or you use their intellectual property indirectly (for example, if you are paraphrasing by putting their thoughts into your own words), you must acknowledge their contribution and credit the original source(s). This is done by citing the original work. 

If you do not acknowledge the original ideas of others that you build upon in your own work, you engage in plagiarism, which is a violation of RRC College policy A17-Academic Integrity.