Check out this video from the Paul Robeson Library at Rutgers University.
For more information (and to see the other two parts of the series) visit their website.
WARNING: This clip is very loud! Be prepared to turn down the volume!!
Why do you need to cite the sources you use for your papers?*
1. Your professors expect you to read about the research of others, and to bring together their ideas in such a way that makes sense to you and will make sense to your readers.Therefore, it's essential for you to cite your sources in any research paper you write. The academic reasons for doing so are to give credit to those who have done the original research and written the article or book, and to allow readers (your professors) to look at them if needed to find out if you have properly understood what the author was trying to say.
2. On a practical level, citing your sources is a way to show that you've done the assignment. If your paper contains no citations, the implication is that you have done a piece of original research, but that probably was not the assignment. Citations (along with the bibliography) show that you have consulted a variety of resources as the assignment required. They're also an acknowledgement of your indebtedness to those authors.
3. So you don't feel you need to hide the fact that you're drawing from one of your sources. That's what it's all about.
*Adapted from: Taylor, Bill. "A letter to my students." Academic Integrity Seminar. 29 Feb. 2008