It's important to properly cite sources in a research paper or project so you can accurately give credit for information that is not common knowledge or an original idea. Proper citation will help you avoid plagiarism, and is an essential part of the research process.
The State University of New York at Albany has provided a useful resource for understanding when, where, and why to provide citations.
SUNY's resource explains when you should provide citations:
While professors and scholars may have specific requirements based on the needs of their discipline, there are cases where you should always cite your sources.
Direct quotes of more than one word. If the author’s words are powerful or you need to be specific for your argument, the authors’ words can be used as a direct quote.
Paraphrasing or summarizing. If you want to adapt someone else’s idea to help you make your point or to support your own ideas, you can “translate” it into your own words, but you still need to acknowledge the source.
Information which may be common knowledge but still unfamiliar to your reader. This would also include statistical information which may be familiar information but still requires confirmation.
Not just books or articles should be cited. Any source that you use for information can and should be cited including interviews, websites, TV programs, etc.
Whenever you are not sure if something should be cited, err on the side of caution and cite sources.
One of the best resources for working with different citation styles. Gives clear examples of how, when, and why you use different forms of citation in different parts of your paper. Very helpful
What Every Student Should Know about Citing Sources with MLA Documentation by Michael Greer
Call Number: 808.027 G816
Publication Date: 2006-06-01
This easy-to-use guide covers the essentials for documentation according to the rules of the Modern Language Association (MLA). It provides a comprehensive listing of both in-text and works cited models for a wide variety of print, electronic, and online sources. Included too are frequently asked questions about MLA style and guidelines for formatting research papers.
The Elements of Style by William Strunk; E. B. White
Call Number: 808 S927
Publication Date: 1999-08-24
One of the best books about writing available. Wonderfully droll and terrifically informative, Strunk and White is an absolute must.