This is the "Why Cite?" page of the "Citing Sources / Create Your Bibliography" guide.
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Citing Sources / Create Your Bibliography   Tags: "chicago style", "style manual", apa, citation, citation management, citation writing tools, citations, ieee, mla, plagiarism  

Why and how we cite sources in academic writing. The guide includes links to many helpful online tutorials, style guides, and related documents to help you understand citation practice, and build correct citations for your bibliography.
Last Updated: Oct 17, 2014 URL: http://guides.library.utoronto.ca/citing Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Why Cite? Print Page
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Why We Cite in Academic Writing

The Whole Internet Truth

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Although we may casually share clips of content with friends in our online world, this doesn't apply to serious academic inquiry. 

Giving credit at every opportunity to the work of others in academic writing is essential to show how we develop arguments and viewpoints.  Because we build on the work of others in order to form new knowledge,  we must cite the work that came before us to help readers understand how we reached our conclusions.

 

Common Knowledge

What about "common knowledge"?

Not every statement in your writing needs to be cited.  Every discipline has a generally accepted definition of what is considered "common knowledge" in that discipline, and those statements need not be attached to a citation. 

This handy flowchart can help you decide.

Common Knowledge decision chart

Consult with your instructor or TA if you're uncertain of what would be considered common knowledge and what would need to be accompanied by a citation to a supporting source.

 

Why Instructors Insist on Good Citations

 

Citation: A (Very) Brief Introduction (from NCSU)

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