I am currently exploring The Great Gatsby with a peer group and was wondering what the etiquette is for referencing the ideas of people on Literature SE who have generously shared their thoughts on my questions.

Questions I've asked so far: What is the significance of Nick being gay in the Great Gatsby? Jordan's line about intimate parties in The Great Gatsby?

So far I haven't used any of these ideas (and don't think I will) but I have recently asked another question and was thinking of using its answers (if it gets an answer) with my peer group. Does Nick love Gatsby?

It's a great community!


1 Answer 1


It depends on the situation. In an academic paper, the expectation is that you will cite the source of every idea that you got from another author, regardless of whether you got it from a book, an academic journal, a web site, or a personal communication. (Unless the idea is considered common knowledge in the field.)

But note that if source A led you to source B, and you read source B and used an idea from it, you don’t have to cite source A too. For example, if my answer to “Does Nick love Gatsby?” led you to Wasiolek (1992) and you read that paper, then you should cite Wasiolek and not me.

In a less formal context, like a classroom discussion or a book club, it’s up to you. It’s nice to give credit where it’s due, and giving citations helps your peers benefit from your research, but in these situations it’s not essential.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .