How will my readers be able to tell the difference between the information I found and my own analysis of it?

When you present your research findings in upcoming discussion forum posts, you should keep in mind that your readers will be coming to your post for valid information from reliable sources and for your insightful analysis. How, then, can you ensure that they will be able to tell the difference between information you’ve taken from your sources and your own insights?

Accurate citation of your sources will do just that. When you provide a direct quotation with a corresponding citation, it’s easy for your readers to tell the difference between what others are saying and what you’re saying. However, when you’re paraphrasing or summarizing, readers need citations to know what is credited to your sources and what should be credited to you.  That being the case, why don’t we just use direct quotations for all information taken from outside sources and avoid the confusion? We could, but it would make the written communication very difficult to read because there would be so many different voices–and yours would get lost.

The Role of Citation of Sources in Evaluating the Validity of Information

In addition to the ethical necessity of citing the work of others, citation of sources plays an important role in evaluating the validity of information, which we can see by means of the following criteria from our validity checklist:

The information is current. A citation will specify the year the information was created, whether the source is a book, a journal article, a radio or television broadcast, or a personal interview. In the case of a website, however, the citation might include the date of access rather than the date the information was added, updated, or originally developed.

The information is relevant to your purpose.  When your readers are unsure, a citation will give them the source so that they can confirm the original purpose of the information for themselves.

You can confirm the authority and accuracy of the information. A citation provides the source of the information, which serves as the starting point for evaluating the information’s authority and accuracy.

The Mechanics of Citation

For CRIT 602 assignments that are based on research findings, you will take a generalist’s approach to the mechanics of citation by referring to the style guide for your field of study and following the appropriate model for the source you’re using. Majors in the social sciences and management will use American Psychological Association (APA). Majors in the humanities will use Modern Language Association (MLA). History majors will use Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS).

Time-Saving Tip: Using the following citation builder recommended by the CPS Library & Information Commons can save you time when citing your sources: Citation Builder.

For questions about citation format for sources that don’t exactly fit the customary models, go to the applicable site below, and type your question in the search box. Chances are that someone else has already asked the question and received an answer:



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