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Latin American Studies

Style Guides in ReadyRef

Why We Cite: The Purpose of Citation

When a professor asks you to "cite your sources", what's the point? 

Well, citations serve three major roles in scholarly work:

  1. They allow you to show how your argument is built upon the ideas of others.
  2. They allow you to indicate which ideas are taken from others, and from whom those ideas were taken; in other words, to give credit where it's due.
  3. They allow the interested reader to follow your argument and confirm its logic by investigating the ideas on which the argument is built, or to further explore those ideas on their own.

In each case, it's important that you acknowledge the ways in which others' ideas contributed to your own. Otherwise, you run the risk of plagiarism.
If you incorporate or refer to others' theories, words, ideas or concepts in your paper, you must document each one using a citation.


RefWorks is a web-based bibliographic software package that enables you to:

  • Organize and share your research
  • Import references directly from many data sources (databases, online catalogs, websites)
  • Instantly generate your bibliography in a variety of citation styles, including APA, MLA, Chicago, and CSE.
  • Include citations (parenthetical references or footnotes) while you write your paper

It's free for all Saint Peter's students, faculty and staff.


Steps: Find resources in data sources -> Save/Cite/Export to RefWorks -> Log in RefWorks to manage your research. 

New users must create an account to start using RefWorks. 

For more information about using RefWorks, please check User Guide on New RefWorks.