University Library at St. Cloud State University

Social Studies

Citing Sources

Why Citation is Important from Kimbel Library on Vimeo.

Academic writing involves finding, evaluating, and using information resources.  When you use research, quotes, ideas, or data you have found in books, articles, webpages, etc. you need to cite the source of your information. Why do you need to cite your sources?
  • Effectively integrating source material from the experts with your own ideas and accurately referencing that source material can lend support to the argument in your paper and credibility to your reputation as a maturing professional in your field
  • Providing complete references enables readers who are interested in your topic to find out more about your research
  • Just as you expect to receive credit for your work, other authors expect and deserve credit for theirs  (from LEO: Literacy Education Online)

If you do not cite your sources you are being academically dishonest and guilty of plagiarism, a violation of SCSU's Student Code of Conduct:
"Academic dishonesty, including but not limited to: cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation of student status, and resume, transcript or diploma falsification. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the use by paraphrase or direct quotation, the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment; unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in selling or otherwise providing term papers or other academic materials; and commercialization, sale or distribution of class notes without the instructors’ permission."
Plagiarism can result in a failing grade for the assignment or the class as well as other disciplinary actions.

Many scholarly organizations and publications have developed systems for documenting and citing sources.  The social sciences primarily use the —American Psychological Association (APA), —American Sociological Association (ASA), and the Chicago/Turabian systems. Many good online guides are available to help you properly cite sources:

—American Psychological Association (APA)

American Sociological Association (ASA)
Chicago/Turabian Other
  • AAA Style Guide
    From the American Anthropological Assocaiton.  AAA uses The Chicago Manual of Style (15th edition, 2003) and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th edition, 2006). This guide is an outline of style rules basic to our journal editing. Where no rule is present in this guide, follow Chicago.  
  • Style Manual for Political Science
    From the American Political Science Associaton, based on the Chicago Style Manual.  

For additional tools and resouces, consult the library's Citation Styles guide. 
Writing an Annotated Bibliography
An annotated bibliography is a list of information resources such as books, articles, webpages, etc. on a particular topic.  An annotation  includes a citation, a summary or description of the resource, and an evaluation of the quality or usefullness of the resource.  Creating annotated bibliographies can help you organize and summarize your research.  Also, professors will sometimes assign them to students. 

The Purdue Online Writing Lab also has a good guide to annotated biobliographies with examples Cornell University Library has a guide on how to prepare annotated bibliographies.  The UMUC library and Skidmore College library have online tutorials on annotated bibliographies.  

What is an Annotated Bibliography? from Kimbel Library on Vimeo.

Here are some examples of annotated bibliographies: 

Kerka, S., & Imel, S. (2004). Annotated bibliography: Women and literacy. Women's Studies Quarterly, 32(1), 258-271.

Medford, R. (2004). Housing discrimination in U.S. suburbs: A bibliography. Journal of Planning Literature, 18(4), 399-457.

Urban, A. (2008). Select Annotated Bibliography on Pornography and Pedagogy. Victorian Review, 34(2), 23-25
Writing a Literature Review
Literature reviews are an essential part of academic writing and required in graduate thesis and other capstone projects.  Additionally, professors will often assign literature reviews to students as part of their coursework.  So, what is a literature review and how do you write one?

The Encyclopedia of Research Design states that "Literature reviews are systematic syntheses of previous work around a particular topic."  The Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin Madison provides a good overview of how to write a literature review. The North Carolina State University Libraries have created a video overviewing  literature reviews

Before you can write a literature review, you need to do some research.  The A-Z of Social Research provides a good overview of literature searching across the social sciences.  The library has created subject guides for all the majors at SCSU to help you begin your research.  The related guides box in the left column lists all the Social Science subject guides.  Each subject guide has a subject specialist.  You can contact the subject librarian to get help with your research.

Here are some examples of literature reviews: 

Bekkers, R., & Wiepking, P. (2011). A literature review of empirical studies of philanthropy: Eight mechanisms that drive charitable giving. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 40(5), 924-973.

Connolly, A., Sampson, E. L., & Purandare, N. (2012). End-of-Life Care for People with Dementia from Ethnic Minority Groups: A Systematic Review. Journal Of The American Geriatrics Society, 60(2), 351-360.

Fields, S. K., Collins, C. L., & Comstock, R. D. (2007). Conflict on the courts: A review of sports-related violence literature. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 8(4), 359-369.

Heale, M. J.(2005). The Sixties as History: A Review of the Political Historiography. Reviews in American History 33(1), 133-152.

Reidy, D. E., Kearns, M. C., & DeGue, S. (2013). Reducing psychopathic violence: A review of the treatment literature. Aggression & Violent Behavior, 18(5), 527-538.
Evaluating Information for Academic Quality
Once you have searched for and located information, you must evaluate your results to determine which resources to use for your research assignments. One method for evaluating information is the CRAAP Test (from the Meriam Library at California State University Chico). CRAAP stands for:

The timeliness of the information.
Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.
Authority: The source of the information.
The reliability, truthfulness, objectivity, and correctness of the informational content.
Purpose: The reason the information exists.

Evaluating Resources - Western Libraries - Western University
Social Science Research Guides
A-Z of Social Research Restricted Resource Some full text availableeref ebook
A practical, fast and concise introduction to the key concepts and methods in social research.

Encyclopedia of Research Design Restricted Resource Some full text availableeref ebook
Covers the spectrum of research design strategies, from material presented in introductory classes to topics necessary in graduate research.  Addresses cross- and multidisciplinary research needs, with many examples drawn from the social and behavioral sciences, neurosciences, and biomedical and life sciences.  Provides summaries of advantages and disadvantages of often-used strategies.  Uses hundreds of sample tables, figures, and equations based on real-life cases.

Key Concepts in Ethnography Restricted Resource Some full text availableeref ebook
An accessible, authoritative, no-nonsense guide to the key concepts in one of the most widely used methodologies in social science: Ethnography.

Mental Measurements Yearbook with Tests in Print Restricted Resource database
Provides test users with descriptive information, citations to test references, and critical reviews of testing instruments. Covers the Ninth Mental Measurements (1985) to the present; previous editions are available in the Reference Collection. Also includes Tests in Print, a listing of testing tools and test reviews. Provides test purpose, test publisher, in-print status, price, test acronym, intended population, administration times, publication date(s), and test author(s). 

Reader's Guide to the Social Sciences Restricted Resource Some full text availableeref ebook
Includes entries critically reviewing the literature on specific topics from abortion to world systems theory. In addition, nine major entries cover each of the major disciplines (political economy; management and business; human geography; politics; sociology; law; psychology; organizational behavior) and the history and development of the social sciences in a broader sense.

Sage Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods Restricted Resource Some full text availableeref ebook
Presents current and complete information as well as ready-to-use techniques, facts, and examples from the field of qualitative research in a very accessible style.

Sage Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods Restricted Resource Some full text availableeref ebook
Includes definitions as well as lengthy articles with references on wide variety of social science research topics: qualitative research, quantitative research, basic statistics, ethnography, evaluation, experimental design, interviewing, longitudinal analysis, scaling, significance testing, survey design, and other related topics.

SAGE Glossary of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Restricted Resource Some full text availableeref ebook
Defines the major terms needed to achieve fluency in the social and behavioral sciences. Comprehensive and inclusive, its interdisciplinary scope covers such varied fields as anthropology, communication and media studies, criminal justice, economics, education, geography, human services, management, political science, psychology, and sociology.

Social Science Jargon-Buster Restricted Resource Some full text availableeref ebook
This practical, down-to-earth dictionary helps students new to the social sciences gain a thorough understanding of the key terms, from Action research to Utilitarianism. Each entry includes a concise core definition, a more detailed explanation, and an introduction to the associated debates and controversies. In addition, the book includes a useful outline of the practical application of each term, as well as a list of key figures and recommendations for further reading. This dictionary brings a refreshing clarity to social science discourse, making it essential reading for all students on undergraduate social science courses.

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