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John M. Flaxman Library SAIC School of the Art Institute of Chicago

How to Cite Your Work | Giving Credit | Citation Styles

All knowledge is built upon previous knowledge. When conducting research, completing coursework, or creating something new in the studio, we draw upon the ideas of others to synthesize our own. One of the reasons citation is a standard is to recognize the work of researchers before you.

You can think about recognizing the work of other academics as giving credit where credit is due. By using appropriate citations, you can set apart your own work from the work of others.

Need to Document No Need to Document
  • When you are using or referring to somebody else's words or ideas from a magazine, book, newspaper, song, TV program, movie, Web page, computer program, letter, advertisement, or any other medium
  • When you use information gained through interviewing another person
  • When you copy the exact words or a "unique phrase" from somewhere
  • When you reprint any diagrams, illustrations,
    charts, or pictures
  • When you use ideas that others have given you
    in conversations or over email
  • When you are writing your own experiences, your own observations, your own insights, your own thoughts, your own conclusions about a subject
  • When you are using "common knowledge" - folklore, common sense observations, shared information within your field of study or cultural group
  • When you are compiling generally accepted facts
  • When you are writing up your own experimental results