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Why Cite Sources?

When writing research papers students are often required to create a "resources used" page, a "bibliography," or a "list of works cited." This guide is designed to help students with this process.

Why cite sources?

  • To give the author(s) credit for the original work and to enable your readers to consult the same sources:

"Whenever you quote or base your ideas on another person's work, you must document the source you used. Even when you do not quote directly from another work, if reading that source contributed to the ideas presented in your paper, you must give the authors proper credit.

  • Citations allow readers to locate and further explore the sources you consulted, show the depth and scope of your research, and give credit to authors for their ideas. ... Think of documenting your sources as providing a trail for your reader to follow to see the research you performed and discover what led you to your original contribution." (From the citation guide of the University of California, Berkeley, available online here.)

There are several styles used for citing sources, but the two main styles used at STCC are the Modern Language Association style (MLA) and the American Psychological Association style (APA). Other styles that you might encounter in your academic career include the Chicago Style and the Bluebook style (used mainly for legal material). Typically, citation in just about any style will include: the author(s) name(s); the title of the resource used; the year of publication; the place of publication. If you are citing a Web site, your citation additionally will typically include the url address of the Web site, and the date you viewed the Web site.


Using Information Ethically

1. Avoid plagiarism!
  • “Plagiarism occurs when the creative work of another individual is imitated or used without authorization, or when the creative work of someone else is represented as one's own work." From the STCC Student Handbook.

2. Cite ALL of your sources (including images) using:

  • Quotations
  • In-text references
  • A bibliography or Works Cited page

3. Some Tips:

  • Avoid cutting and pasting
  • Basic, known facts are okay to use (e.g. Washington was our first President)
  • Even if you are paraphrasing someone else's ideas using your words (rather than quoting), you must cite
  • Give yourself time for the writing process

When in doubt, cite!

Resources for Citing Sources

Style Manuals:


Citing Information tutorials from the UNC University Libraries




The College considers the following behaviors as inappropriate for the College community and in opposition to its core values and behavioral expectations.  These expectations apply to all students. The College encourages community members to report all incidents of such behavior.  Any student found to have committed or to have attempted to commit any of the following misconduct is subject to the sanctions outlined under this policy. 

Acts of academic dishonesty including, but not limited to the following:

  1. Cheating. Intentional use, and/or attempted use of any unauthorized assistance in any academic exercise including dependence upon the aid of sources beyond those authorized by the instructor.
  2. Fabrication. Intentional and unauthorized falsification and/or invention or any information or citation in any academic exercise.
  3. Unauthorized Collaboration. Deliberately submitting work prepared collaboratively with someone else without explicit permission from the instructor.
  4. Facilitating dishonesty. Knowingly helping or attempting to help another commit an act of academic dishonesty, including students who substitute for other persons in examinations or represent, as their own, papers, reports, projects, or the academic works of others.
  5. Plagiarism. Knowingly representing the words, ideas, or artistic expression of another as one’s own work in any academic exercise, including but not limited to submitting previously-submitted assignments for which the student has earned credit, copying or purchasing other’s work, patchworking source material and representing the work as one’s own, or arranging for others to do work under a false name.
  6. Submitting, in whole or in part, prewritten term papers of another or the research of another, including but not limited to commercial vendors who sell or distribute such material.
  7. Theft of materials. The acquisition, without permission, of tests or other academic material belonging to a member of the faculty or staff, or another student.

Discipline for Academic Dishonesty

This policy recognizes the right of faculty to manage their class, including addressing directly with students issues of academic dishonesty.  When there is information that academic dishonesty occurred, a faculty member may choose to take action as outlined in the course syllabus, including issuing a failing grade for the assignment or the course.  Faculty are encouraged to share that information with the CCA. If the CAA is aware of more than one incident of academic dishonesty by this student, in addition to the issuance of a failing grade by the faculty member, the student may be subject to disciplinary action under this policy.    If the student believes that there is substantial evidence of error or injustice associated with a failing grade issued because of academic dishonesty, the student may file a grievance under the Student Grievance Procedure’s Grade Appeal Process.

Where the issuance of a failing grade by a faculty member for academic dishonesty will result in a student’s dismissal from a program (for example in nursing and other health care programs), the charge of academic dishonesty shall be directly referred to the CCA for administration under this policy, which shall be completed, where practicable, within thirty (30) days.