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Citation facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
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An example of a bibliography

A citation or source citation is a reference to a published work (for example, a book, article, image, etc.,) that is used when creating a written work. It shows readers where specific pieces of information came from and where readers can locate it for themselves. It acknowledges or gives credit to the author who actually created the content being used in a paper. The opposite of a citation is plagiarism, or not giving credit to others for their ideas, concepts, or images. Plagiarism, especially in Academia, is considered taking the work of others and presenting it as one's own. The penalties for plagiarism can be severe. Source citations also give a work credibility. In other words, it shows the information is simply not made up.

What to cite

In general, different academic situations will have different rules for what to cite and how to cite it. Some use footnotes while others may require in-text (also called inline) source citations.(This is an inline source citation) Some may require a bibliography which lists all works that were used. In some cases, it may only be necessary to provide a list of "works cited." It is important to know in advance what protocols must be used and what citation style (see below) is preferred.

  • Quotations Anything taken word-for-word from a source must be shown in quotation marks (" "). The quotation must have a source citation showing where the quoted text came from.
For example: "Quality or junk? How do you want your research described by others?"
  • Paraphrase To paraphrase is to take someone's words or ideas and put them in the words of the person writing the paper. Anything paraphrased should be source cited. A paraphrase is usually about the same number of words as the original but does not use quotation marks.
Example (original text): "And there is only one fault so obvious, so fundamental, that it instantly brands a piece of work as the product of an amateur or careless researcher: poor source citations". Paraphrased: Poor quality source citations usually indicate that a piece of work is either careless research or the work of an amateur.
  • Summarize A summary is a short version of another work in the writer's own words. A summary is usually shorter than the original. When summarizing someone else's work, a source citation is necessary.
Example (original text): "When you don’t know when to cite, you end up plagiarizing which is just a big word for stealing and that’s mean. And when you plagiarize, you also get an “F” and people think, “Dude, that kid is one dumb bunny.” Let’s avoid that, shall we?" Summarized: When you do not understand source citations, it is easy to plagiarize someone else's work. So you do not get an "F" for your work, the following are the basic rules.
  • Facts and ideas Using facts and information to support an argument generally requires a source citation. Facts do not always need to be source cited, especially if they are commonly known (e.g. water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit). Ideas, however, should always be cited.

What is not necessary to cite

You do not need to cite anything that is common knowledge. These are things that would be known by nearly everyone. Examples of common knowledge are:

But when in doubt, cite it.

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