Why We Cite Sources

One thing I really want to see changed when it comes to teaching writing is to teach learners why we cite sources. For too many students, citing sources seems to feel like a mechanical obligation; like they’re fulfilling some requirement. It wasn’t until graduate school when I really started to value citations. And that’s way too late.

I’ve linked to a Prezi I created to help students understand why we cite. The benefit of this is that we don’t have to get bogged down with all the different formats that exist and we can focus on teaching them the fundamentals of citations so learners will value them as a necessity and not just as a thing they have to do to get a grade.

Here’s the link.

Basically, we cite for four reasons.

  1. As writers, citing sources gives us credibility. It says we’ve done our due diligence and looked at the whole issue.
  2. It avoids plagiarism. As writers, we avoid copyright infringement and the horrors that come with that.
  3. Citing sources gives readers enough information to explore the issue further.
  4. When we cite, we do the right thing. Good ole ethics. We give credit to the creator because they created it.

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