Giving credit to the original author of thoughts, words, and ideas is an important ethical concept. Why cite?
To avoid PLAGIARISM: While a bibliography does not prevent plagiarism, it is an important tool in avoiding plagiarism.
BUILDING on research: Pertinent information is gleaned from the ideas of those who came before, and a researcher then produces new knowledge by integrating the ideas of others with her own conclusions. This is the scholarly research process.
TRACING research: Allow earlier contributors to receive credit for their work. This is the basis for all scholarship.
CONTRIBUTING ideas: Your contribution, as a student, to disciplinary knowledge is the unique ways you interpret and synthesize the words, thoughts, and ideas of authorities. In fact, giving credit to experts and authoritative sources gives your conclusions validity that cannot be achieved by simply stating one's own opinions.
LOCATING additional research: Citations allow readers to access the cited materials if they are performing research on that topic.
When accessing articles from research databases, there is typically (but not always) an option to export a formatted citation after selecting an individual article. For comprehensive research papers, however, it is usually easier to use a citation manager. Here at the library we recommend Zotero.