Ryerson University Library and Archives Home

CEN100 Introduction to Engineering

What you will learn - organize and cite your sources

stick man with sign: what you will learnBy the end of this module you will

  1. Know why you need to cite your sources

  2. Be able to keep track of your sources through proper note taking

  3. Understand how to cite your sources in APA

Test your Knowledge: Citations

Lesson 1 - Why we cite

Learning Objective: Understand why researchers cite other sources.

Information has Value!

Watch one of these videos on why we cite from the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University. 


Why We Cite

From The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Citation: A (very) Brief Introduction  

From North Carolina State University

Image of Video for Why we Cite - click on image Citation Video from NCSU

Here's a break down of why we cite

  • To attribute words and ideas to their original source – simply giving credit where credit is due

  • To provide your readers with a kind of “map”of what you have been reading – to help your readers understand what has influenced your thinking

  • To add weight and credibility to your paper –to demonstrate that you are engaged in the relevant research material

  • To provide an easy way for your readers to get access to the source material

  • To situate yourself in an academic community with shared conventions

  • To avoid plagiarism

Check Mark

You always cite your sources because you understand that information has value. 

You understand that citing is a legal responsibility to respect the work of others just as your work should be respected.

Lesson 2 - How to Keep notes

How to take notes from your sources

Don't depend on underlining and highlighting in the actual book or article. Keeping your own separate notes, either on paper, in MS Word or in the Cloud, is the best way to organize your thoughts. 


1. What should I keep notes on?

  • Facts, people, statistics etc., to better understand your topic

  • Points that prove or disprove your own argument

    • Remember you can bring up counter arguments in your paper and disprove them with other sources

  • Record quotations or ideas that you might be able to use or directly reference in your paper

  • You can color code or draw arrows etc., to link ideas and arguments

2. Don't write too much! 

  • Use your own words.  You can choose the most important ideas and write them down as labels or headings. Then fill in with a few sub-points that explain or exemplify

  • Only write down exact quotes only when the ideas are memorably phrased or well written.  You can use them as actual quotations in your essay

    • Always write down the page number for your citation! 


3. Label your notes - keep track of your sources in your notes ! 

There is no method of note-taking that guarantees you will not have to return at some point to the original source.

For this reason be sure to record along with your notes the:

  • Author,

  • Title,

  • Date, and

  • Page number or exact location of the information you may use in your paper

This will save you time if you have to return to the passage again later.

Example of a note:

- helpful insight on income inequality, p. 32, 3rd par., Alan Thompson,Canadian Social Justice, 2004.

Lesson 3: Check what you've learned: Citation

Activity for Lesson 3


1. Read the following instructions from OWL Purdue on in-text citation basics


Here's your note:

Amanda Jones, The study habits of undergrad students 1998 Harper Collins 

page 199

 "Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time" 


2. In the box below, write an in-text direct quote in APA style. 

APA Style

Style and Formatting Help

APA Style from Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL)

APA Style Formatting from Student Learning Support (Ryerson University)

APA Style Simplified (E-Book)

APA FAQ (APA Style Blog)

Quick Help

Citing sources in the body of your essay

In-Text Citations (Authors)
In-Text Citations (Websites)


Creating a Reference List/Bibliography


Electronic sources (Online Articles, E-books, Websites)

Other non-print sources (Email, Movies, Interviews)


APA in your Essay

What an APA paper looks like (OWL Purdue)


APA Style Guide (Official Copy)

The Library has multiple copies of the Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition). It is available at the following locations:

  • Reserve (2nd floor Check-out desk). Two copies are available to be checked out for 2 hours.
  • 6th floor. Four copies are available for regular loan period.

The call number is: BF76.7 .P82 2010

Concise Edition

Concise Rules of APA Style, is the official short and easy-to-use version and is also available for 2 hour loans.

  • Reserve (2nd floor Check-out desk). Call number  BF76.7 .C66 2010

Software to Help you Cite in APA

Online Tools to help you manage your Citations!

Check out our Guide on Citation Apps that can help you cite it right!