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First-Year, Transfer, and Honors Seminars: Research Strategies

This guide provides additional resources for the information literacy modules in UNI 101, UNI 201, and HON 110, for both students and instructors.

Why Do We Cite?

Why do we cite (other than 'because we're told we have to'!)?

  • To give credit to others for using their ideas and words in our projects
  • To back up your claims with evidence
  • To help readers find more information on the topic
  • As a sign of respect, upholding our Seahawk Respect Compact and Academic Honor Code
  • Because citations are a part of participating in scholarly conversations (and you are a scholar!)

You can learn more about why and how we cite in the tutorial below from the University of Arizona Libraries.

How Citations Work

You can think of citations in general like the language of scholarship. Scholars communicate information through work like scholarly articles, and they are building on work other scholars have done on that topic by citing them.

If citations are a language, citation styles are a dialect. Citation style guides like MLA, APA, and Chicago are the conventions and norms for how scholars in a particular field, or publishing in a particular venue, should communicate to be understood by one another. Some of those norms are informed by who makes the style guide: for instance, in MLA style (published by the Modern Language Association), the author and title of the source come first, because in that field, books are a common means of publishing and their titles are valuable information to have upfront. In APA style (published by the American Psychological Association), the year of publication comes second instead of the title. That's because psychologists often publish in journals and the information they publish can become out of date much more quickly than in the field of literature or language, so the date is more valuable for them to see upfront.

You'll want to cite according to the style your instructor tells you to use (or if you have freedom over which style to choose, pick the one you'll likely use in your major, or one you have used before).

Not sure how to cite? Check out the Citation & Bibliography Help guide from Randall Library for links to style guides and other resources. For more in-depth support, visit the Writing & Citing Support tab for suggestions from the University Learning Center's Writing Lab.