MA 398-01: Special Topics in Mathematics

Citing Sources - Introduction & Purpose

It's important to cite sources you used in your research for several reasons:

  • To show your reader you've done proper research by listing sources you used to get your information
  • To be a responsible scholar by giving credit to other researchers and acknowledging their ideas
  • To avoid plagiarism by quoting words and ideas used by other authors
  • To allow your reader to track down the sources you used by citing them accurately in your paper by way of footnotes, a bibliography or reference list

You must cite:

  • Facts, figures, ideas, or other information that is not common knowledge
  • Ideas, words, theories, or exact language that another person used in other publications

    Publications that must be cited include:  books, book chapters, articles, web pages, theses, etc.

  • Another person's exact words should be quoted and cited to show proper credit 

When in doubt, be safe and cite your source!

APA Citations

Avoiding Plagiarism

Plagiarism occurs when you borrow another's words (or ideas) and do not acknowledge that you have done so. In this culture, we consider our words and ideas intellectual property; like a car or any other possession, we believe our words belong to us and cannot be used without our permission.

Plagiarism is a very serious offense. If it is found that you have plagiarized -- deliberately or inadvertently -- you may face serious consequences. In some instances, plagiarism has meant that students have had to leave the institutions where they were studying.

The best way to avoid plagiarism is to cite your sources - both within the body of your paper and in a bibliography of sources you used at the end of your paper.

Zotero - Citation Management Application

Zotero (pronounced "zoh-TAIR-oh") is an open-access, easy-to-use reference management tool that serves as your personal research assistant and helps you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources. 

Zotero allows you to:

  1. Save references from library catalogs, research databases, and the Web.  
  2. Add PDFs, images, audio and video files, snapshots of web pages, and more.
  3. Write annotations and attach them to citations.
  4. Create bibliographies using most major citation styles.

Designed by Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media and initially funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Zotero runs on several operating systems including Windows, Mac X, and Linux.  

​You will need to open the Zotero download page and install the browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.  You may also need to restart your browser before start working with Zotero.  Be sure to back up your work by creating a Zotero account or saving it your flash drive.

Use this Zotero tutorial, created by Jason Puckett and licensed by Georgia State University Library under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial License.