Why Is Citing Sources Important?
Proper citing of sources is extremely important in writing essays. However, what students often do not realize is that the way of citing is equally important. There are many different writing styles in use today, such as AP, APA, MLA, Chicago, and others.
The basic rule of thumb is this: If you did not write the information yourself, you should always cite a source. Failure to cite your sources, especially in college-level writing, is plagiarism.
What Is Plagiarism, And What Are The Consequences?
Plagiarism is the act of using a written piece, in whole or in part, for your own projects without giving proper credit to the original author. Basically, it is in the same league as stealing material from other authors and claiming the material as your own.
The consequences depend on which school you attend. Some schools may adopt a “Three Strikes and You’re Out” policy, but I find that many professional universities have a zero-tolerance policy toward plagiarism, and have no qualms about drumming you out on the first offense.
So How Does One Properly Cite Sources?
The answer to this question depends on what criteria your curriculum uses and what type of information you’re presenting. Very often, a simple link or source section will not be enough to avoid at least being marked down for improper citation.
These formats differ greatly from each other in the type of information that is required for citations.
The APA format, a writing format used by the American Psychological Association, is widely used in psychological papers. The APA citing format is one of the most popular, however, in some cases, especially those associated with professional journalism, will have you use AP (Associated Press) format. These are the two most common writing styles used in an academic setting. All writing formats have basically the same goal in mind: clear, concise presentation of information and sources.
A Comparison Between Citations In AP And APA Formats
These formats differ greatly from each other in the type of information that is required for citations. A proper citing in AP format may be something like this:
According to usgovernmentspending.com, a website that tracks Government spending, the national debt has grown by 1.9 trillion dollars over the past three years to $18.6 trillion. This is a growth of approximately ten percent.”
However, that same citation in APA format would have 2 parts. You would present the information in the article with a numerical identifier as follows:
According to usgovernmentspending.com, a website that tracks Government spending, the national debt has grown by 1.9 trillion dollars over the past three years to $18.6 trillion.
 This is a growth of approximately ten percent.
Then you would write a separate Sources section with numerical identifiers identifying each source as follows:
 Chantrell, Christopher (2015, Sept. 3rd). “Projected and Recent US Federal Debt Numbers”. Retrieved from http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/federal_debt_chart.html.
We hope that you, as a student, now understand the importance of citing your sources. Learn it, and put it into practice. Failing to do so can seriously damage your academic record.