This guide provides information about citing in academic writing and also provides links to APA & MLA resources where you can find details about specific formatting and style requirements.
Academic writing typically builds on (includes) information from existing sources that help to support claims and provide evidence about topics. Properly incorporating outside sources in academic writing requires:
Citing to Avoid Plagiarism
Plagiarism is when someone uses another person's words or ideas without properly acknowledging the original author/source of the information. Since plagiarism is considered academic misconduct, it's extremely important to cite any print or online sources (including images & media) you include in your writing.
The following quote about plagiarism is found in the UCF Golden Rule Student Handbook: "... Whereby another’s work is used or appropriated without any indication of the source, thereby attempting to convey the impression that such work is the student’s own." University of Central Florida. (2022). The golden rule student handbook 2022-2023. https://goldenrule.sdes.ucf.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/64/2022/06/2022-2023-Golden-Rule-Student-Handbook.pdf
Keeping Track of Sources
Keeping track of sources is a first step for properly citing. As you review sources for writing projects, plan a strategy to keep track of sources you plan to include. For example, you might save citations for any articles or books in a Word document, and then note the sources you plan to use/not use.
Paraphrasing & Direct Quotes
Paraphrasing is used in academic writing to incorporate ideas and information you find in articles, books, or other outside sources. Paraphrasing involves synthesizing outside sources and rewriting the information using your own words and your own sentence structure. Restating ideas and creating your own paragraph structure, helps you avoid 'patch writing' which occurs when someone adds/replaces a few words and keeps the same sentence structure as the original text. Paraphrased text always requires an in-text citation to direct readers to the corresponding reference or works cited entry. Use direct quotes sparingly and only when you need to convey exactly what was said and how it was said.
APA & MLA Citing Resources
Reminder: Citing is a 2-step process that requires in-text citations within the body of your paper and corresponding reference or works cited entries that include all the information needed to locate the original source. See the following links to locate APA & MLA style examples.