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PHYS 2080 - Physics Seminar: Citing Sources

Search for scientific literature effectively

Why Cite?

Some Reasons Why Scholars Cite  1

  • To persuade ("...persuasion by argument, buttressed by support from authoritative papers in the field") . 2
  • To embody concepts or methods (rather than describing how to determine a protein, I cite the paper that tells you this, and move with my own addition to knowledge).
  • To provide credibility (they allow the reader to check the evidence and chain of logic themselves).
  • To give credit for ideas and show the reader where to go for a further elaboration

2. Ibid. p. 389


Note: You need to cite sources in your writing if you use someone else's ideas, data, methodologies, illustrations, etc.; it does not matter what format they are in.

What is a Citation?

So, what is a citation? Click "Start" to find out. (Requires Flash)

How to Cite?

If, for example, you want to cite an article in your paper to support your argument, you should:

  1. Make an in-text reference within your writing:
    Making censorship the filter would signal a fundamental change in the role that the Government plays Wiley (2003, p.6), ...
  2. Include complete details about the article in the references section at the end of your paper: Wiley, D. (2003), "Connecting learning objects to instructional design theory", The Instructional Use of Learning Objects, Agency for Instructional Technology, Bloomington, IN.

Citation Styles

  • There are several common citation styles (standard formats for listing references). Style varies across disciplines. Ask your instructor which style s/he prefers.
  • In general, references of periodical articles should have these elements:
  • Author(s) - who wrote it
  • Title - what the article is called
  • Source - title of the periodical or larger work it appeared in
  • Volume & Issue numbers
  • Publication date
  • Page numbers

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