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High School Classes

This guide is designed to help build research skills for high school students

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

What are citations?

When citing a source you acknowledge another person's ideas, whether you have quoted them directly or otherwise. You are also attempting to provide enough information for someone reading your paper to easily find the source that you consulted.

There are a variety of different citation styles out there and what style you use often depends on your discipline and/or the preference of your instructor. The Student Success Centre provides some guides with examples on their Writing Support page -> scroll down to Citation Styles at the bottom of the page. Alternatively, you have the Library's Citation Guide.

A citation provides brief details of the author and date of publication within your text.

A bibliography or references or works cited is a list at the end of your paper of all sources/references used within your paper. Here is one example:

When not to cite?

You do not need to cite common knowledge (e.g. the sun is bright) or generally known facts (e.g the chemical formula of water is H2O).