Academic scholarship involves properly acknowledging sources. It shows readers where your ideas came from, and gives them the details to find the source themselves.
A citation is a reference to a source, and depending on the citation style, includes details such as the title, author, location and date of publication, and other information. Common citation styles include APA, MLA, and Chicago. If you are unsure which citation style you should use, or what needs to be cited, check with your instructor.
- Anytime you use someone else’s work (ideas, words, images, code, etc.), it needs to be cited.
- Students are often using a number of different sources in their assignments. It is your responsibility to keep track of your sources and to cite them appropriately.
- If you paraphrase (i.e. put something into your own words), it still needs to be cited.
- It is an academic offense to re-use work from other assignments without permission from your instructor. If you do have permission, make sure to cite yourself to avoid self-plagiarism.
How do I cite?
The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University has examples of formatting, in-text citations, footnotes/endnotes and Works Cited for different citation styles, including MLA, APA, and Chicago.
The Library has links to a number of Citation/Style Guides, including APA, Chicago, MLA Style, Legal Style, Medical Style, Oxford Style, and Turabian Style.
Citation Management Software
Citation management software can help you collect, format, organize, and insert in-text citations, footnotes, and bibliographies.
RefWorks is free to use at the University of Waterloo, and is supported by the Library. For help setting-up and using RefWorks, read the RefWorks Guide, attend an upcoming workshop, or contact a RefWorks Librarian.
How do I paraphrase?
Paraphrasing is taking someone else’s ideas and putting them into your own words. If you paraphrase, you still have to include a citation to the source material.
To learn more about paraphrasing
How do I find and use research?
- Use Library Find and use resources and Quick Start Guide
- Use WriteOnline resources for writing case studies, reflective essays, literature reviews, & lab reports
- Review the Writing and Communication Centre or Purdue Owl resources on how to quote, paraphrase, and summarize
Reviewing your work
If you need help reviewing your writing and communication, consider booking an appointment or finding a drop-in appointment with the Writing and Communication Centre.
If you are considering having your work edited, review the Guidelines for Ethical Editing of Undergraduate Student Texts or Graduate Student Texts on the Editors Canada website.