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PSCI 210: Citing Sources

International Relations

Plagiarism tutorial

Check out our Plagiarism Tutorial to learn more about using sources in your assignments. 

5.2 When Should I Cite?

Always Cite:

  • Direct quotations taken from sources - place quotation marks around direct quotes as you write them down.

  • Paraphrased ideas and opinions taken from someone else's work.

  • Summaries of ideas taken from someone else's work.

  • Factual information, including statistics or other data unless it is considered common knowledge.

You must cite all sources used in all assignments that you create. It does not matter what format your assignment (for example, presenation or paper) is in or where in your assignment you use a quote, summary, paraphrase or statistics. 

The Exception: â€‹Common knowledge

When writing an essay, the only source material you do not have to cite is information that is considered common knowledge. Common knowledge generally refers to any well-established, uncontroversial fact about the world, or a fact that cannot be attributed to a single source. However, common knowledge does not necessarily mean that everyone knows it.

Common knowledge: 5 credible sources rule

A general rule is that you can consider information common knowledge if you can find that information uncredited in 5 credible sources.

If you're not sure if something is common knowledge, it's better to be safe and cite it!

Interpreting Citations

Book (entire)

References

Berger, J. (2013). Contagious: Why things catch on. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Author: James Berger
Date of publication: 2013
Title: Contagious: Why things catch on
Publication location New York, NY
Publisher Simon & Schuster

Clues that this citation is for an entire book:

  • Contains only one title
  • Includes the name of a publishing company: Spiegel & Grau

Journal article

References

Gong, S., Zhang, J., Zhao, P., Jiang, X. (2017). Tweeting as a marketing tool: A field experiment in the TV industry. Journal of Marketing, 54(6), 833-850. Retrieved from Business Source Complete.

Authors: Shiyang Gong, Juanjuan Zhang, Ping Zhao, & Xuping Jiang
Date published: 2017
Title: Tweeting as a marketing tool: A field experiment in the TV industry
Journal title: Journal of Marketing
Volume & Issue: Volume 54, Issue 6
Pages: 833-850

Database name:

(no doi)

Business Source Complete

Clues that this is a journal article:

  • Contains the title of the article, sometimes in quotation marks, depending on the citation style.
  • Contains another title, the title of the journal, newspaper, or magazine in which the article appears, often underlined or in italics: European Education
  • Contains a volume and, sometimes, an issue number: 45. 1, or 45(1)
  • The date is sometimes a year, sometimes month and year, sometimes season (example: Spring) and year.
  • Contains page numbers
  • Online articles often have a unique doi, or digital object identifier

Newspaper Article

References

Authier, P. (2016, Nov 02). Quebec tightens rules for spying on journalists; press freedom is fundamental, premier says. The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1835481852?accountid=132048

Author P. Authier
Date November 2, 2016
Title Quebec tightens rules for spying on journalists; press freedom is fundamental, premier says
Title of newspaper The Vancouver Sun

Clues that this is a newspaper article: 

  • Like journal articles, it contains both the title of the article and the title of the publication. In some citation styles, the title of the article appears in quotation marks.
  • Unlike journal articles, the date includes the month and day in addition to the year
  • Some include section numbers as part of the page numbers (e.g. A6, B4)