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Learn the Library

This guide will introduce you how to use the library to do basic research.

What's the big deal?

Knowledge develops through recognition of previous work. As expressed by Isaac Newton, "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants" (BBC, 2009). 

Citing is the method of recognizing others' work, and it is an essential part of being a university student. Using proper citation allows instructors to see what scholars you have been reading, and it also gives you a voice in the scholarly discussion.  Citing is also how we make our thought "experiments" reproducible.  To prove something in the physical sciences we do experiments and ensure others can do them and get the same results, in scholarly writing (and assignments) the ideas and conclusions of other people are our evidence, so we cite them.  This means someone else could look at the original source, what we conclude from it (how we interpret it to support out argument) and reproduce our thought process.  

If you are wondering how many citations a paper should have consider that each new paragraph is probably discussing a new idea, or interpreting a new piece of evidence.  This means each new paragraph will probably have one citation in it.  The tabs below though will help you decide exactly and when to cite.

If you write something amazing, you probably would want others to cite your work too!

Both the Library and the Student Success Centre have staff and resources to help you learn to cite.

For more in-depth information about Citing please visit the Citation Help guide.


BBC (2009). Moving words: Sir Isaac Newton. Retrieved March 3, 2017 from


General knowledge does not need to be cited. It is often defined as the information found in textbook or encyclopedia.  When in doubt, do not assume general knowledge.

Example: Most university students will need to write an essay during their studies.

When you take the exact wording of someone else's idea (whether partial or full sentence/passage), you must attribute using quotations and an in text-citation OR footnote. It is often better to paraphrase or summarize, but there are times when the exact quote is perfect, or you want to discuss or analyze the quote itself.  Don't forget your works cited page at the end!

In-text Citation Example:

This is further reinforced by the fact that "[e]fficacy of technological tools and mediums has been measured in a variety of ways in education, but student learning is the most frequently used measure of efficacy" (Rockinson-Szapkiw et. al, 259). 

Works Cited

Rockinson-Szapkiw, Amanda J., et al. "Electronic versus traditional print textbooks: A comparison study on the influence of university students' learning." Computers & Education 63 (2013): 259-266.

To paraphrase, you rewrite someone else's ideas, in the same level of detail in your own words. An in-text citation is necessary, but quotation marks are only necessary if using exact phrasing.

In-text Citation Example:

As students increasingly use mobile devices in their education, publishers have quickly responded by providing more of their textbook titles in a digital format (Rockinson-Szapkiw et. al, 259). 

Works Cited

Rockinson-Szapkiw, Amanda J., et al. "Electronic versus traditional print textbooks: A comparison study on the influence of university students' learning." Computers & Education 63 (2013): 259-266.

To summarize, you are taking a larger concept and distilling it into your own words. Typically longer than a paraphrase, summarizing is a description of your understanding of the meaning and content. 


Example (From the University College of the University of Toronto paraphrasing and summarizing webpage):

Here is a summary of the passage from "An Anthropologist on Mars":

In "An Anthropologist on Mars," Sacks notes that although there is little disagreement on the chief characteristics of autism, researchers have differed considerably on its causes. As he points out, Asperger saw the condition as an innate defect in the child's ability to connect with the external world, whereas Kanner regarded it as a consequence of harmful childrearing practices (247-48).

Select Style Manuals

Select Online Resources

Cite your sources

[Untitled image]. Retrieved March 3, 2017 from