You use citations in order to retrieve materials related to your topic. In the same way, you create citations leading back to material that you used in your writing. People reading your paper will be able to understand what part of your paper is based on your own ideas and what part is based on other peoples’ ideas. This enables them to read further on the topic and enables you to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is claiming someone else’s idea or writing as your own. It is a serious academic integrity violation—see the Undergraduate Honor System.
A great resource is the Virginia Tech Writing Center in the Learning Commons on Newman's second floor. You can either walk-in or make an appointment with the center to review your paper.
The Communication Department sponsors CommLab, located in Newman 101A, to assist students with speeches and presentations. Trained student coaches will meet with students to build speeches, rehearse with students, videotape rehearsals or review videotapes of student presentations. You can make an appointment online.
Any sources used in your research paper should be cited in a bibliography or works cited list, and in the body of your paper. The format of these references is dictated by the “citation style” (which is often chosen for you by your instructor). Commonly used citation styles include APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (Modern Language Associations), and Chicago Style.
Guides for formatting commonly used references, including citations for books, articles and web pages, in these citation styles can be found on the library’s Citing Sources webpage. Printed style manuals with definitive information and examples are available at the reference desks.