Research Paper: Citing Sources

Contributor: Delaine Thomas. Lesson ID: 12333

"Research" means finding information that someone else provided. "Stealing" means quoting that information without giving credit to the originator! Learn how the "works cited" page helps your readers!



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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"Oh yeah? Who says?"

  • Did you ever hear that statement, especially from someone who disagrees with you?

It's a valid question, so you need to have your sources ready!

The man in the above picture is giving information to the police about a suspect.

He is the source, or informant if you will, that is telling the police what they need to know to wrap up a case. Depending on whether or not the police think the man is a reliable source, they may or may not go after the person in question.

When you write a research paper, you use different sources for the information you have used to inform the reader about your topic. You might have used a direct quotation from a book, or maybe you paraphrased some information from a website or other source. In each of these cases, you should have listed the name of the source and page number you used in parentheses. Then, at the end of the paper, you will have a "Works Cited" page, where you will give a more detailed listing of the book, website, etc. that you used as your source of information.

Before you continue, if you missed or would like to review the previous Related Lessons in our Research Paper series, find them in the right-hand sidebar.

Take out a piece of paper and pencil. As you watch Citation: A (Very) Brief Introduction, from NCSU Libraries, write down the information you should include about a book when writing a works cited page:

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During the writing of your paper, you should have cited your source within the paper, such as (Murphy 27). This gives the author's last name and the page number where the quotation or paraphrase was found. You could have also written down all the information that you need for your works cited page on an index card so you have it when you are ready to work on that page.

Here are a few examples of entries on a works cited page:

Charney, Maurice. Wrinkled Deep in Time: Aging in Shakespeare. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009, Print.

Listed first on the works cited page is the author's name, with the last name first. Then, you will put a period. The name of the book comes next (in italics), with a period after the title. Then, the city where the book was published, followed by a colon. The publishing company's name comes next, followed by a comma. The year it was published is next, followed by a period (or comma, or other punctuation, depending on the source; see below).

You write "Print" if it is a book, encyclopedia, textbook, or anything in book form. If it was on the Internet, instead of "Print," you would put "Web," as in the following example:

Walker, Elsie M. and David T. Johnson. “Shakespeare.” Literature/Film Quarterly 33 (2005): 81-167. Web.

  • In the above reference, what do you think the number 33 is for?
  • Did you say, "The edition of the magazine"?

If you did, you are correct. This would be the 33rd edition of this magazine.

Before you continue to the next section, discuss with your teacher or parent why it is important to list or cite your sources when you use someone else's words to write your paper.

Then, continue to the Got It? section to identify the parts of a Works Cited page.

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