Citations are important for a few reasons:
To show that you've done research on your topic
To give credit to others' ideas and research that you use in your own research
To allow your reader to consult the sources you've used if they want more information
To avoid PLAGIARISM, which is considered academic dishonesty and has consequences (view the student handbook for details, under "Academic Integrity")
a Little more about plagiarism...
Plagiarism is when you take something that is not yours (an idea, words, drawing, etc.) and pass it off as your own without giving credit to the original creator.
To avoid plagiarism, cite your sources. Examples of types of works that need to be cited include ideas, direct quotes, words you paraphrase, drawings, statistics, graphs, art, music, videos, and images.
When in doubt, cite the source! Use NoodleTools to create your Works Cited page.