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Video Transcripts

Using & Crediting Sources: Why We Cite: Examples

Last updated 5/6/2020


Visual: Screen opens to a background image with a person typing on a laptop and a notebook and pencil, along with the Walden University Writing Center logo. The title Walden University Writing Center and tagline “Your writing, grammar, and APA experts” appears on the screen. The screen changes to show the series title “Using and Crediting Sources” and the video title “Why We Cite: Examples.”

Audio: Guitar music


Visual: Slide rotates and changes to a slide with a heading of "Why do we cite?"  Below the heading are five blue circles with text in them that explain different reasons for citing.  The circles are connected by arrows to show a flow to the reasons. These reasons, following the arrows from start to finish, include:

  • Give credit to sources you are quoting and paraphrasing
  • Indicate when you're using sources
  • Direct the reader to the references list
  • Maintain integrity and credibility
  • Avoid plagiarism

Audio: In academic writing, a foundational idea is that if you use an idea, even if you change some of the language to use different words (what we call paraphrasing), you need to indicate where the information came from. Indicating where you originally found or learned an idea is important because it respects the author, it gives the authors credit for their ideas.

Another reason why we cite is to indicate when you're using sources. Without citations, your reader might assume the ideas and information you’re presenting all originated with you, which would be sort of like false advertising or taking credit for other people’s work.

Another reason that we cite is to direct the reader to the reference list. Your citation will help show within your paragraph where you retrieved an idea from, and then the reader can follow the information in the citation to find the full source information in your reference list, which would in turn help the reader find the original source. This can be helpful to your readers’ own research and to help readers learn more about ideas you’re using in your writing.

Another reason we cite is to maintain integrity and credibility. I always tell students that citing your sources helps build credibility as a researcher. Citing your sources can demonstrate to the reader that you've read the relevant literature and that you are well versed on the topic.

And finally, one of the reasons that you may know about is to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism happens when you take ideas and don’t give credit to the author or the authors of those ideas. When you plagiarize, it basically means that you're portraying that the ideas are yours when in fact they're not. In this way, it's important to avoid plagiarism because no matter if it's intentional or not, it can have important consequences.


Visual: The screen changes to an ending slide with slide a background image with a person typing on a laptop and a notebook and pencil, along with the Walden University Writing Center logo. The email address appears on the screen.