Citing Sources

Citing the work of others in WSU Extension Publications 

WSU Extension requires in-text citations of statements in publications when the basis and/or 
context originates from, and is directly attributable to, another’s work. 

Citations are an important element in any publication that contains creative ideas and scientific 
data or otherwise relies on others’ work to support conclusions. 

In scholarly, scientific, and creative writing, citations serve several roles. 


  • Acknowledge the individual who made the discovery or originated the idea on which 
    a statement is based; 
  • Anchor the current work in pre-existing literature or prior works; 
  • Lend credibility and validity to the publication; and 
  • Direct the reader to additional resources so they can further explore the topic or 
    subject matter area. 

Several sources offer guidance on when to cite, including: Chicago Style Manual, Princeton University, APA, and Wikipedia

Citations are required in the following situations: 

  • Direct quotations from another’s work 
  • Paraphrasing or summarizing another’s work 
  • Surprising or unusual claims 
  • Stating facts or data from, or conclusions supported by, another’s work 
  • Assisting reviewers in verifying the content in the manuscript 
  • Directing the reader to supplemental information on the subject 

First and foremost, it is the responsibility of the author(s) to identify when citation of a statement 
is necessary. Peer reviewers, program unit directors and other individuals handling the peer 
review process each may help to identify when citation of a statement is necessary or when it is 
not. Authors are encouraged to use good judgment and cite statements when warranted. 

It is equally important not to over-cite statements in a publication. Over-citing (for instance, citing 
nearly every statement in a publication) calls into question whether the author has added any 
value in the form of integration and synthesis of ideas in the subject area. 

General knowledge and common knowledge within a field generally does not require a citation. However, if the author intends to direct the reader to a valuable resource for further information, 
the source should be referenced within the text in a way that makes it clear it is for further