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APA Citation tutorial

Why Do We Cite?

Learning Outcome

After completing this chapter, you will be able to:

  • Identify why using citations is important.

It’s important to understand why citations are a fundamental part of any research assignment, aside from being a requirement. A citation is a reference to a source that contains key pieces of information about that source in order to find them.

The following are 3 key reasons why citing is important.

Reason 1:  For Scholarly Communication

By reading, analyzing, and including scholarly sources in your assignments, you are contributing to and participating in scholarly communication!

You grow in your understanding of a field of study by learning from its subject experts. One of the key concepts of information literacy is Scholarship as Conversation. By citing your sources, you are placing your work within a scholarly conversation and recognizing the work you are building upon. This gives your work credibility in the eyes of the reader..

Reason 2:  To Give Credit and Show Professionalism

This is key for showing professionalism and evidence in your paper.

You will mainly use scholarly and professional sources as evidence to support your research and give credit to their findings. Citations allow others (and you!) to find the sources used in your paper to learn more about them.

Another key concept of information literacy is Information Has Value. Citing your sources recognizes the value of the authors' work.

Reason 3:  To Avoid Plagiarism <

It might help to think: is this my own idea or did I read or hear about it in one of my sources? If it came from somewhere else, cite it.


The main reasons why we cite are to:

    1. Participate in scholarly communication,
    2. Give credit to our sources,
    3. Avoid plagiarism.

Media attribution:

Scribbr. (2020, January 23). What is plagiarism? | Scribbr [Video]. YouTube.

“[What exactly is citing summary]” from NorQuest College Library’s Intro to APA tutorials is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 International.