Evaluating information is only the first step -- once you find credible information, you need to incorporate the information into your work in a way that acknowledges the original author. Imagine research as a conversation -- scholars are trading ideas back and forth and building on the findings of earlier work. Citing your sources is an important part of contributing to this conversation. It allows readers to understand how your work fits into the overall conversation.
Citing your sources is:
the smart thing to do -- readers will consider your work more credible if they know where your information comes from.
the honest thing to do -- it prevents plagiarism by giving credit to the original author of an idea.
When do I need to cite sources?
To avoid plagiarism, NAU's e-Learning Center advises you to cite sources when:
You directly quote a source
You paraphrase a source
You summarize someone else's ideas in your own words
You draw on facts, information, data or media from someone else
You want to add supplemental information not included in your paper, such as footnotes or endnotes