© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Citing Sources

Spoiler alert: Plagiarism is bad.

This short and sweet course is the perfect crash course in how to cite sources. Ever wondered what the point of it all is? What the heck MLA and APA stands for? When to use footnotes and when to use in-text citations (*shudder). This course will give you the answers, and put you on the road to academic paper domination. By the end of this course, you'll know:

  • that rather than being a torture device, citations just give credit where credit is due. Plus, they convince you're teacher you're not plagiarizing.
  • the basic features of each of the main types of citations: MLA, APA, and Chicago.
  • what exactly a "hanging indent is." Is it dangerous?
  • how to smoothly integrate citations into your paper, whether by footnotes or in-text citations.
  • how to cap your paper off with a clean-looking bibliography, works cited page, and even the rare annotated bibliography.

Course Breakdown

Unit 1. Citing Sources

You'll find all of the basics of citing sources here: why we cite, the nuts and bolts of citations, how to integrate citations into your writing, and the basics of bibliography writing.

Sample Lesson - Introduction

Lesson 1: Why We Cite

For the record, this is about how smart it looks when people plagiarize. (Source)

In the introduction to this course, we solemnly swore to make you believe in the glory and power of citations. This lesson is the beginning of that magnificent journey.

We're just so excited for you we can hardly stand it.

To start with, we're going to explain to you the magical and mysterious world of academic publishing. If you think it's a simple process of checking a few facts, typing up a book, and asking somebody to publish it, you've got a few surprises waiting for you. Once you understand that, you'll understand that a history professor citing their sources is basically the same as a mad scientist writing down their crazy experiments in their laboratory journal. Except with less lightning and hilarious accents.

And then there will be a super hard test worth a million points. Just kidding. There will be a test, but it's more about exploring the dangers of plagiarism than grading you. Be cool, dudes.

  • Course Length: 1 week
  • Grade Levels: 7, 8, 9, 10
  • Course Type: Short Course
  • Category:
    • College Prep
    • Writing
    • Life Skills
    • Middle School
    • High School

Just what the heck is a Shmoop Online Course?

Courses Tutorial