Any words, ideas or images that you do not create yourself must be properly credited to avoid plagiarism. Citing information sources acknowledges the origin of your information and it provides support and credibility to your work by showing evidence of your research.
A citation is a reference to the source of an idea, information or image. It typically includes enough identifying information, such as the author, title, date, publication format, etc.
? When you copy someone else's words exactly as written without quoting it, that's plagiarism. You're taking credit for writing something you haven't written. But it's also a little tricker than that. If you use an idea that's common knowledge, you don't need to cite that. As and example, if you are writing a paper and mention that 30% of college students in San Francisco report that they plan to pursue graduate education, you need to indicate where you got that info. It's not a commonly known fact. However, you might mention that the planet Venus is the second closest to the sun and you wouldn't cite that, because that's commonly known factual information.
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APA (American Psychological Association) style is used primarily in the social sciences such as Psychology and Sociology.