I'm working on a series of self-published guidebooks aimed at teaching tech skills for people who aren't tech literate. My only prior experiences writing nonfiction have been research papers for classes, so I'm not entirely familiar with when it's appropriate to cite a source in this scenario.

I understand that I need to cite something if I'm quoting it, or used it as a part of my research; however, I'm uncertain what under what situations I wouldn't cite a source.

For example: Would I cite a source if the only time I used it was to fact-check something I already knew?


I’ve never heard of issues caused by overciting, but underciting causes many problems.

When in doubt, cite it — if nothing else it lends credibility if you can cite reputable sources for any facts you include — it helps show you are aligned with standard practices in a field.

I’d recommend footnotes plus an appendix of works cited and further reading.

  • Footnotes in a guidebook? I think that is overdoing it, unless the source is a really important one in which case it may rate a chapter instead.
    – Willeke
    Dec 30 '20 at 11:31

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