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Organizational Leadership

Citing Your Sources of Ideas and Information

You must cite a source whenever you refer to a fact, claim, theory, idea, or conclusion that is not your own, and whenever you appeal to evidence that you yourself have not collected and evaluated.  Citations are not just for quotations.

There are several reasons why it’s important to cite the sources you’ve used:

  • To allow your instructor to assess the quality of the information sources that support your assertions and conclusions
  • To assist readers who want to find more information about your topic
  • To give credit to the authors whose ideas, expertise, and efforts are reflected in the works you’ve cited
  • To teach and promote honesty; to foster respect for scholarly work.

For instance, you must provide a citation every time you use a quotation from someone’s work—but quotations are not the only things that need to be cited.  Provide a citation (reference) whenever you refer to text, tables, illustrations, videos, or other materials that you yourself did not create.

There are two main ways to present ideas or research results taken from other sources:

  • Quoting directly: using the exact words from the original source
  • Paraphrasing: rewording the original text in a way that makes it more appropriate for your needs, often by removing unnecessary detail or by highlighting why the idea or result is important to your broader argument or point.

See the links, above, for details.

Organizational Leadership uses APA (American Psychological Association) citation format, which requires both in-text citations (e.g., Chiswick & Robinson, 2021) and a References list at the end of the paper.

The Cite button within most databases—on the page for each individual article—will generate citations in APA format, but they’re not always 100% correct.  I encourage you to check your citations against the examples found online or in the journals themselves.

Guides to APA Citation Format

Example APA Citation for a Journal Article

Example APA Citation for a Book