Why do I need to cite my sources? You need to give credit to the individual(s) who you got the information from. If you do not give credit to your source then that means you are pretending the work/information is your own. This is PLAGIARISM!
In this class (and all your history classes) you will cite your sources using the Modern Language Association (MLA) format. You can find examples of how to use the MLA format here: http://www.liu.edu/cwis/cwp/library/workshop/citmla.htm You can use cites like easybib.com to help you, but make sure you are citing in MLA! (Links are also on my website) Ok, fine, how do I cite sources?
What’s the difference between a works cited page and a bibliography? In a works cited page you only list the works you have actually cited in your paper. A bibliography shows every book you referenced whether you cited it in your paper or not. For this class you will be making a works cited page not a bibliography.
What if I want to quote something? Put it in quotes! Then do a footnote showing where you got the quote from. The source you got the quote from will also be listed in the works cited at the end of your paper. http://www.aresearchguide.com/samplefootnote.html
What if I paraphrased it? You don’t need to put quotes around it then, but you will need to footnote it. Just because you changed a couple words/phrasing does not make it your own unique idea! You still need to give credit.
Ask yourself the following questions: Do I understand the information? If you don’t then why would you use it? Is the information relevant to me? If it’s not, don’t use it! If the information accurate? Can I verify it? See my website for tips on how to verify sources. Is the source reliable? If your answer is no, or you’re not sure, don’t use it! Is the author/source bias? Will it effect my research? Everyone is bias, but if the information is very strongly slanted in a direction you may want to reconsider using it. So now that I know how to cite sources, how do I know if it’s a good source?
Can I use wikipedia? It’s ok to start at wikipedia. Often wikipedia can be a good way to find other reliable sources on your topic. Like any source, wikipedia should not be the only source you use!