Why do we cite other people's work?
What does it mean to give credit where credit is due?
Aretha Franklin wanted her propers, and so do authors. Creating easy-to-follow citations establishes a relationship between your work and the work of others. Because academic publishing often influences hiring, promotion, and tenure decisions, it is especially important to cite the sources we use in our own writing.
By transparently (clearly) citing your sources, you are telling your reader that you are so confident in your work, that you will share where you found the original literature. Think about your process when you do research. What are you doing when you read sources and incorporate them into your work? You are reading prior research and synthesizing your own ideas about their findings. Transparently citing your work only makes it stronger!
What is the concept of "academic conversation"? How do I participate in it?
For most academic or scholarly research, the work of researching, writing, and publishing isn't about finding a specific all-encompassing answer. It is about exploring different perspectives and finding trends, which we can then use to inform decisions. When we cite others' work, we are participating in the conversation surrounding a topic.