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Citation and Evaluating Resources Guide: Citation Overview

Why is it Important to Cite Your Sources?

The following are the major reasons we cite our sources whenever we use work that is not our own to support our findings in our own work:

1.) To demonstrate respect for the ideas of others and to acknowledge how their work influenced our own work.

2.) To demonstrate integrity and honesty by acknowledging the original author and source of work we use to support our research and inquiry.

3.) To demonstrate responsibility by sharing our sources with others so they too can benefit from our research by helping them find and read the sources we used.

What Must I Cite?

  • Direct quotations taken from any work in any format including internet sources.
  • Images used in assignments and presentations.
  • Video or audio used from another source in presentations or assignments.
  • Paraphrases from other works.
  • Direct ideas taken from another source that influenced your thinking.
  • Ideas or excerpts taken from another student's work.

What Do I Not Have to Cite?

Anything that is considered common knowledge, does not have to be cited. Common knowledge would be pieces of information that is generally known by a group of people or that the author did not have to look up or research because it is part of his or her common body of knowledge through experience. It can be tricky determining common knowledge and if you are unsure it is always safer to cite a source or to ask your Teacher Librarian if it needs to be cited.


Ottawa is the capital of Canada. (Common knowledge for people who live in Canada and for many people around the world. You would not need to cite this.)

The population of Ottawa is 870,250 ("Economy and Demographics"). (Not common knowledge because most people would not be able to pull this number from their memory and would have to look it up. In this case, I would need to cite my source.)

Works Cited:

"Economy and Demographics." Service Ottawa, City of Ottawa 2017,​, Accessed 21 May 2017.