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Why We Cite
When you write a research paper, you use information and facts from a variety of resources to support your own ideas to develop new ones. You cite these sources for the following reasons:
- To Give Credit
Giving credit to the original source acknowledges experts and scholars for their contribution. In some fields, citations can lead to career advancement.
- To Establish Credibility
Citations build credibility because they demonstrate how much you have read and learned, including sometimes from competing and multiple viewpoints. It will be clear to your reader that your ideas are well supported.
- To Help the Reader
Citations can guide your readers to more information about your topic. They can also offer in that they suggest clues to the larger conversation in which your work is positioned.
- To Participate in the Conversation
Your work contributes to ongoing intellectual conversations.
Common Elements of a Citation
9 Common Core Elements
Rather than give strict format rules for different types of sources, the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook identifies 9 "core elements" common to most sources and provides flexible guidelines on how to reference them in your Works Cited list.
(Commas separate details of the "container" or master work until all details are exhausted.)