Why Cite?

Besides avoiding punishment for plagiarism, there's plenty of reason to provide citations for your sources. Everyone deserves to be given proper credit for their work. As a part of a scholarly community, it's your job to make sure you are fair to the person or people from whom you got your information. Providing references shows that the information you present is accurate, or at least can be fact-checked. It also allows your reader to see the origin of your information, and do their own research about it. By giving proper credit to the person who created the work, you are honoring the time and effort that went into making it. Be honest, and cite!


What Do I Cite?

If you share or include in your work anything that wasn't made by you, you need to cite it. It doesn't have to be just words -- it can be ideas, concepts, methods, findings, etc. If you include media made by other people, like videos, images, audio, and charts, you need to cite those, too. If it's not your work, it needs to be acknowledged. Even if it IS your work, if it has been previously submitted or published, you must cite that past work.

However, there are certain pieces of information, called common knowledge, that may seem too obvious to need a citation. If a piece of information can be easily found in at least five independent sources, it is likely common knowledge, which means you don't have to cite it. However, one must keep in mind that common knowledge is a subjective judgment which may not necessarily apply to your audience, depending on their background. This video gives a helpful description of common knowledge and when to cite. Nonetheless, if you are in doubt about whether or not to cite it, cite it regardless!


How to Cite

OWL Purdue - This website is a massive and comprehensive resource for research and citation, containing thorough guides for citing in multiple styles. It also includes information on why citing is essential, and how to improve your academic writing. 

IEEE Style Guide PDF

IEEE Style Guide - Murdoch University

Resources for Citing Sources - The Library's list of links for helping you cite in MLA, APA, and Chicago.

If you need help with citing, feel free to ask your professor, librarian, or the Writing Centre. 



RefWorks - RefWorks is available to help you store, organize, insert, and format citations for Research Papers. If you are a UPEI student, faculty, or staff, you have free access to RefWorks. Be sure to use the link on the library's website to access it.

Guide to writing research papers - Jim Moore, UCSD - On how to use references properly to inform your writing.

Rules for References PDF - A guide to evaluating whether or not a reference must be used, and choosing which sources are cite-worthy.

If you need help with using references, feel free to ask your professor, librarian, or the Writing Centre. 


Evaluating Sources

Whether or not you think your source is credible, it still needs to be cited. However, the credibility of your sources is important. As a part of a scholarly community, you must make every effort to share information that is accurate and reliable; sharing inaccurate information can be harmful.  There are a number of factors that you must take into consideration. To make it easier, California State University has created the CRAAP test: essentially a list of questions that act as a guideline for evaluating any source.

Currency: How long ago was it created?

Relevance: Is the information appropriate? Is the source relevant to the information?

Authority: Who created the source?

Accuracy: Is there evidence? Has the information been reviewed?

Purpose: What is the reason this information was shared?


Applying the CRAAP Test - California State University - a simple PDF with a list of helpful questions to better apply the CRAAP test

Evaluating sources - Western University - a short video on YouTube that overviews use of the CRAAP test