As a university student, you are actively engaged in the process of reading, writing and doing research - the core activities of academic life.
Participating in these activities is a bit like walking into a conversation among scholars discussing their ideas and research through the articles, books, and other materials they have written. You build your own ideas on the basis of this conversation, and when you write it is important to let others know what parts of the conversation you are working from.
Citing your sources in a paper is important as it:
situates your work in the context of existing ideas and studies
allows your reader to find and read the specific material you have used
acknowledges and gives credit for ideas and phrasing to the original author
lends credence and authority to your arguments
demonstrates to your instructor that you know how to find and use materials that support your research
shows evidence of academic honesty and respects York University’s Policy on Academic Honesty and protects you from charges of plagiarism