A vital component of any research paper is proper identification of the sources you’ve used to support your work. To do this you’ll need to prepare a bibliography (a list of the works cited in your research document) and in-text citations using the guidelines of a particular format or style. The citations in your bibliography will contain information describing each resource (author, title, publisher, date, etc.) so that the reader can locate the original information you used.
Citations should be included for any material you’ve referenced in your work: newspaper and journal articles, books, and even resources like web sites, interviews, and television shows. There are several major citation styles for formatting citations and you may be asked by your mentor or instructor to use a specific one in your work. Common styles include the APA, MLA, and Chicago Manual of Style. You can see information on these and other citation styles by going to the library home page and using the “Bibliography/Citations” link on the right side under the “Help Doing Research” section.
Proper documentation of sources is important not only to give credit to the original author of an idea, but to let your readers see that you have effectively covered the scope of your research topic. Not to mention that doing so is an important part of your responsibilities at the college in maintaining academic integrity. To learn more about documentation and citation styles, visit the Empire State College Writing Resource Center.