Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

The Research Process

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 Even when you do not quote directly from another work, if reading that source contributed to the ideas presented in your paper, you must give the authors proper credit.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 syles 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


Our Plagiarism Policy

Fom the STCC Student Handbook:

Academic Honesty Policy

Communication of knowledge and a free exchange of ideas, two essential aspects of a college community, require a fundamental standard of honesty. Students and faculty must be able to expect that thoughts and work presented for credit are the property of the person presenting them. To safeguard these principles, it is important to clarify the rules and procedures regarding academic honesty.

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

a. Use of any unauthorized assistance in taking quizzes, tests, or examinations;

b. Dependence upon the aid of sources beyond those authorized by the instructor in writing papers, preparing reports, solving problems, or carrying out other assignments;

c. The acquisition, without permission, of tests or other academic material belonging to a member of the College faculty or staff; or

d. Plagiarism, which is defined as the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment. It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials. Taking credit for work done by another person or doing work for which another person will receive credit. Copying or purchasing other’s work or arranging for others to do work under a false name.

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 academic dishonesty is suspected, a faculty member may choose to issue a failing grade. If the student believes that there is substantial evidence of error or injustice associated with that grade, the student may file a grievance under the Student Grievance Procedure’s Grade Appeal Process. Alternatively, a faculty member may choose not to issue a grade, but rather refer the matter directly to the CCA for administration under this policy. However, 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.