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When you research, you’ll need to build on the ideas of others. Citation is a way to give credit to the people whose ideas influenced you.
In the workplace, your employer usually owns the copyright to your work, so you’ll end up building on the work of others and you may not cite in the same way. In school, however, you’re expected to formally give credit through citation to your sources.
When it comes to citation, you have two tools: in-text citation (which go at the end of the sentence where the source was referenced) and references (a longer citation at the end of the work that helps the reader locate the source). In the workplace, you may also use footnotes and links.
If the words of the source are important, you should quote. Put quotation marks around the words and then provide an in-text citation. In general, you will include some sort of analysis that explains why the quote is meaningful to your topic.
If the ideas of the source are important, you will quote and either paraphrase or summarize the source. This involves changing the language of the source so that it matches your document. Don’t simply swap out a few words, but restate the author’s point so that it matches the tone of your document. Put an in-text citation at the end of the sentence.
Citation practices can be tricky in the age of the Internet, so you can use citation generators as long as you check to make sure they’re correct.