1. Why Cite?
No research paper is complete without a list of the sources that you used in your writing. These citations or references are a crucial part of the research process.
Why do you have to cite your sources?
Scholars are very careful to keep accurate records of the resources they've used, and of the ideas and concepts they've quoted or used from others. This record keeping is generally presented in the form of citations. A citation is a description of a book, article, URL, etc. that provides enough information so that others can locate the source you used themselves. They allow you to credit the authors of the sources you use and clarify which ideas belong to you and which belong to other sources. Most research papers have a list of citations or cited references and there are special formatting guidelines for different types of research.
Failing to properly acknowledge and cite your sources, or pretending that the work of others is actually your own is called plagiarism and is a serious violation of College rules. So as you do your research, be sure and note the sources that you've consulted and the information that you have taken from each.