Why to Cite Sources

  • Citation provides your readers with the information they need to locate your sources. This full disclosure allows reader and writer equal access to information about the sources, creating in the writer’s work a public and open discussion in which the writer’s claims can be judged by readers in light of these sources.
  • Good citation demonstrates accuracy. Supporting the claims you make in your writing with citation is a way of demonstrating accountability and ensuring accuracy.
  • Citation points the reader to a research tradition. Citing sources in conjunction with your discussion of a particular topic helps to place your writing within relevant historical and contemporary discussion.
  • Thorough and accurate citation leaves a trail that establishes the credibility of your writing. Citing an appropriate number of relevant sources shows that you are aware of other work on your topic and that you have taken those other contributions into account when formulating your own thoughts.
  • Failure to give proper credit for the ideas or words of another amounts to claiming those ideas or words as your own, and this academic dishonesty is both illegal and immoral. Even accidental plagiarism can have very serious consequences, so it is usually a good idea to err on the side of caution. For more information, see the seminary’s position on plagiarism.

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Citation and Formatting Guide Home

Why to Cite Sources

When to Cite Sources

Citaton Basics

Course Paper Formatting Guide


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