In a research paper, you will be drawing on the work of other writers, and you must acknowledge their contributions by citing them. In research writing, sources are cited for two reasons:

  1. To alert readers to the sources of your information so that they can find these sources on their own
  2. To give credit to the writers from whom you have borrowed words and ideas

You Must Cite When

  1. You use a direct quote from any source
  2. You borrow ideas from a source by:
    1. paraphrasing or summarizing parts of it
    2. lifting phrases or sentences from it
    3. pulling statistics or facts from it
    4. using information in tables, graphs, or diagrams

Rule of Thumb

If you are unsure of when to document, ask your instructor or a Writing Center tutor. Otherwise, when in doubt, cite the source!

All information written on this page has been excerpted from the official handbook of the IUP writing center: Hacker, D. A Writer's Reference. (2003). (5th ed.). Boston: St. Martin's.