Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
TCTC Learning Commons logo TCTC Learning Commons header

Academic Integrity at TCTC

A Flip-Guide to Ethical Academic Behavior

Citation is the formal means by which we credit the work and insights of other folks.  Though, for many students, this often appears to be an unnecessarily formal exercise, citation plays an important role in academic communication.  While different disciplines have developed different procedural rules for how to format a citation, the goal is ultimately the same – to lead others to those same resources by providing the author, title, publication information, date of the work, and, in the case of a digital resource, a stable URL.  The ability to find cited information efficiently allows scholarly conversation to evolve through the medium of the text -- it's how scholars talk to one another.

You’ll find links to several citation resources below, but it’s also important to remember that citation benefits not only the reader, but the writer, as well.  Here’s how…

  • Citation meets the formal requirement of scholarship and shows that we, as student-writers, know what we’re doing.
  • Referring to the work of others in the discipline shows that we’ve done our research and really tried to grapple with the problem.  It demonstrates both effort and intellectual engagement.
  • Citing the work of key figures in a subject-area or key commentators on a particular issue provides credibility for our argument.  It might demonstrate that other thinkers have come to a similar conclusion that supports our position, or it might show that we’ve considered their work and come to an alternative conclusion based on a new insight.  Either way, incorporating the work of notable thinkers is compelling to the reader.
  • Citing our source provides the weight of evidence to our claim.
  • Citation protects the writer against accusations of plagiarism by clearly distinguishing when the writer is a) quoting another author directly, b) paraphrasing another author, or c) building off their ideas in a new and nuanced way.

Ultimately, citation isn’t just about fulfilling a requirement.  Instead, it’s a means of demonstrating that our work is thorough, well-researched, and, hopefully, convincing to our reader.

An in-text (or parenthetical) citation is a kind of shorthand that directly correlates to a fuller entry in the bibliography.  The in-text citation provides the reader with a quick point of reference for a quote or idea without unduly interrupting the flow of the narrative.  Generally, in-text citations include some combination of the author's last name, the publication date, and the relevant pagination, but styles vary between disciplines, so it's helpful to refer to the style guide appropriate to the course.