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Citing Sources of Information

Suggested resources for citing sources correctly

Why do you need to cite sources of information?

When you find some useful ideas in your research and want to use them in your paper, whether they are from books, government documents, magazine or journal articles, non-print materials, Internet sources, TV interviews, or other forms of materials, you need to let your readers know the sources of these ideas, i.e., provide proper reference to each source that you have used, because:

  • it is an ethical practice and is part of academic honesty
  • the credit belongs to the author or creator of the sources
  • this will enable readers to locate the original sources and learn more about the subject
  • it shows your effort in locating and exploring the sources and, in turn, provides credibility to your own writing
  • using the ideas of others without acknowledging the authors is plagiarism.

How to cite?

You need to cite each source that you used twice.

  1. In the text of your paper at the point where you use someone else's ideas, give brief information of the source -> In-text citation
  2. Provide the full citation of the source in the list of Works Cited, References or Bibliography.

Main principle - The reader should be able to easily track down the information sources that you cite.

Which citation style should you use?

A citation is formatted in accordance with a recognized, appropriate citation style. As preferences for citation style vary, you should ask your professor or instructor which style you should use.

The following are some commonly used citation styles:

  • APA [widely used in Social Sciences]
  • Harvard [widely used in Social Sciences]
  • IEEE [used by IEEE Transactions, Journals, and Letters; Engineering]
  • ACS [ used in Chemistry and Physical Sciences]
  • CSE [used in Natural and Applied Sciences]
  • Chicago [widely used in Natural and Social Sciences and many other disciplines]
  • MLA [widely used in Humanities]
  • OSCOLA [widely used in law schools]

CityU's Academic Honesty tutorial

For general guidelines on citing and referencing, interactive examples, and useful tips, see CityU's Academic Honesty tutorial. Not only is the information useful, but students need to complete the tutorial as part of the University's requirements on academic honesty.

RefWorks

Create your personal database of references

Use RefWorks, a citation manager, to help you store and manage the citations of your references, and generate bibliographies for your research papers.