Citations provide basic information about an information source that allows you or others to locate the same source again. The information source may be a book, journal article, webpage, radio broadcast, etc. Although the information needed to locate a journal article vs. a webpage (or a book vs. a radio broadcast) may vary, some basic information such as who, what, when, and where should be made available in the citation (see bulleted list of Basic Components of an Article Citation below).
When writing papers, it is essential to cite your sources, meaning that you must say where the information came from . If you do not cite your sources, you may be guilty of plagiarism. When in doubt if you should cite a source, err on the side of precaution and note where the information came from.
Basic Components of an Article Citation