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BCOM 314 - Business Communication

Citing sources

Why cite?

It's important to cite your sources, for a variety of reasons:

  • To give credit to the author(s) of your sources.
  • To allow your readers to locate your sources.
  • To show that you thoroughly researched your topic and can support your claims.
  • So you don't get in trouble for plagiarizing.

"If it is not your original words or ideas, give credit to the person whose words or ideas you are using," advises the UA's Dean of Students Office. Plagiarism violates the UA Code of Academic Integrity. You don't want to face these sanctions.

Citation resources

There are a variety of citation styles. Use the one specified by your instructor. If one isn't specified, the field of business typically uses American Psychological Association (APA) style.

These guides will help you format citations correctly:

Avoid Plagiarism

In college courses, you're continually engaged with other people's ideas. You might read them in texts, hear them in lectures, discuss them in class, and incorporate them into your own writing. It's important that you give credit where credit is due.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is using other people's ideas and words without clearly acknowledging the source of that information. It can be intentional, but you might do it without even realizing it.

There can be serious consequences for plagiarizing, from getting a zero on a paper to a full-blown lawsuit. But, don't worry! We'll help you learn what needs to be cited and how to avoid plagiarism.

To avoid plagiarism, you must give credit whenever you:

  • use another person's idea, opinion, or thought.
  • use any information that isn't common knowledge.
  • quote or paraphrase another person's actual spoken or written words.


Quoting is copying the exact words from a source. This is fine as long as you place quotations around the passage you're quoting and properly cite the source.

Be sure to:

  • put quotation marks around everything that comes directly from the text, especially when taking notes.
  • cite the source.


Paraphrasing is restating a passage from a source in your own words. Being able to recognize the differences between acceptable and unacceptable paraphrasing will help you avoid unintentional plagiarism.

Be sure to:

  • not just rearrange or replace a few words.
  • read over what you want to paraphrase carefully. You could cover up the text with your hand or close the text so you can't see any of it. Then, write out the idea in your own words without peeking.
  • compare your paraphrase to the original text to be sure you haven't accidentally used the same phrases or words and confirm that the information is accurate.


Whether you're paraphrasing, summarizing, or quoting, you need to cite your sources whenever you use any research, words, or ideas that aren't your own. The only things you don't need to cite are information that's considered common knowledge and your own original research, words, or ideas.

Also, make a bibliography at the end of your paper that lists all the sources you used.

That's it!

More help

Think Tank Writing Center
Go to the Writing Center at the Think Tank to get help with your papers and writing.

Writing Skills Improvement Program
Register for this program to schedule tutoring sessions and improve your writing skills.

University of Arizona Libraries Avoiding Plagiarism
More examples and resources are available through the UA Libraries website