Citations give credit to the person who created the information originally.
Citations allow you and your readers to partake in the scholarly conversation about your topic.
By showing where you found your information, you allow your readers to go look at the information themselves, make their own interpretation of it, and then join back in the conversation and add to or refine what you have already written.
Providing citations is also a way of being transparent which adds credibility to your argument.
If you say something that is based on your own opinion, that is fine, but does not add much credibility.
If you can show why you think something and where you found the evidence to make you think something and show others where they can also go look at the evidence and draw their own conclusion, this adds credibility to what you are saying.
Understanding style formats is helpful when you are looking at a bibliography (list of sources) in an article or book and want to track down an item. Knowing the elements of a citation will tell you:
Think of style or citation formats as a method of communication about the resources used for research. People from around the world can look at a citation and know where the resource came from, what it is, and can then track it down.
You may never use MLA or APA in your career, but the practice of using a format as a method of communication is something that you will probably do every day as a professional in some form or another.
Recognizing types of resources based on a style format and knowing how to locate them is also a valuable and transferable skill.
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