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Why Citation is So Important


When you don’t cite properly, you are claiming someone else’s ideas or work as your own. Whether intentional or accidental, taking credit for someone else’s ideas or work is plagiarism. Plagiarism is a crime: the original author can sue you, or you might have action taken against you by the University (including failing the class). Philadelphia University's Academic Integrity Policy, which includes the sanctions for academic dishonesty, can be found in the Student Handbook and at Academic Integrity Policy.

Your list of works cited helps your reader to learn more about your topic by identifying the original sources you used for your research. This is called “citation chasing,” and is a very good way to find the quality material that has been used in the preparation of an outstanding piece of research. Citation chasing is hampered when the author has used incomplete or ill-constructed citations.

Your level of scholarship and knowledge about your topic is reflected in the citations you employ in your writing. In-text citations can reflect support for the point you are trying to make, adding credence to your arguments.

Finally, citations reflect how deeply you have researched your topic, and are one of the indicators of your effort. It doesn’t hurt to include lots of citations, as long as they are relevant.


Learning and Advising Center. Writing and Tutoring Resources

The Philadelphia University Learning and Advising Center has information about using the APA, MLA, Chicago, Vancouver (ICMJE), CSE styles and more on their pages for Writing Tutoring & Resources

Online Citation Guidance

American Psychological Association

Chicago Style

ICMJE (Vancouver style)

Reference Books

These guides are located in the Reference Collection, on the Main Floor of the Library:
  • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed 2010
    Call Number
  • MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed 2009
    Call Number
    R808.027 M685m7
  • Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed 2010
    Call Number
    R808 .027 C532m16
  • Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors and Publishers, 7th ed 2006
    Call Number
    R808.0665 S416c7
  • AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors, 10th ed 2007
    Call Number
    R808.06661 A512i10
  • The ACS Style Guide: Effective Communication of Scientific Information, 3rd ed 2006
    Call Number
    R808.06654 A187c3

Contact the Library

Phone the library 215.951.2848

Email a librarian reference@philau.edu

Personalized Meetings

If you would like to schedule a meeting with one of our librarians, you can do so by filling out a research session request form; we will connect you with a librarian who can best assist you.