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Citation Styles

This Guide contains information on how to cite sources in-text and prepare a bibliography for your paper.
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Plagiarism: taking someone else's work/ideas and passing them off as your own.

How to avoid??? Cite your sources!

YOU SHOULD CITE WHEN:

  • Referring to a source and stating someone else's opinions, thoughts, ideas, or research
  • Using an image or media file that you did not create

When in doubt, cite it


WHEN REFERRING TO A SOURCE, YOU HAVE THREE OPTIONS FOR USING IT:

Handwritten text that starts with a quotation mark and ends with a parenthetical citation.

  1. Directly Quoting 
  2. Summarizing 
  3. Paraphrase 

"Which option you should choose depends on how much of a source you are using, how you are using it, and what kind of paper you are writing, since different fields use sources in different ways." Grounds for Argument. When to Quote, Paraphrase, or Summarize a Source. Used under CC BY NC SA

Image:  Random quote by Gabriel Jones. Used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


YOU DO NOT NEED TO CITE:

  • Your thoughts and your interpretations.
  • Common knowledge​. e.g. George Washington was the first President of the United States. 

READ THE SOURCE IN ITS ENTIRETY

  • It's easy to take something out of context if you only read a portion of it! If you read the entire source, you should have a better feel of the author's meaning.

TAKE DETAILED NOTES AS YOU READ

  • Be building your citations and reference list as you go along! When you use a source go ahead and make the citation for it, it's so much easier than scrambling to figure out where your ideas came from at the end of your paper.
  • On each page, make sure you note the original source and the date you accessed the source. This will make citation much easier, especially if you are working with multiple sources or doing research over a long stretch of time.
  • Anytime you note something word-for-word, immediately place it in quotation marks. Also note what page or section you found it on.
  • Try not to mix your own thoughts and commentary with excerpts from your source. Keep them on separate pages, draw two columns on your page, or switch your pen color.
  • email is great! When conducting your research use the embedded email feature. It will send you a time-stamped copy of the resource you found. 
  • If you find it difficult to take notes with electronic sources - or if you find yourself drawn to the copy-paste method - print out your sources and deal with them in print form.

RETURN TO YOUR NOTES LATER

  • In order to do this, you must not procrastinate on your projects. If you don't have sufficient time, you won't do your best work, and it may lead you to make poor decisions when including your sources. Remember, if you get caught plagiarizing, the situation or your intentions won't be an excuse. Build in time to synthesize and properly work in your sources. Do your research in advance, instead of trying to cram research & paper all into one night. 
  • Identify which sources are best for inclusion. Understand when you have to cite. Then decide whether you should directly quote, summarize, or paraphrase. If you are directly quoting, double-check your notes against the source for accuracy. If you are summarizing or paraphrasing:
    • Make sure the source is fresh in your mind, but not right in front of you. If you see the original text, you are more likely to want to use their terms and sentence structure.
    • Check your writing against the original. Remember, you should have changed the sentence structure and the language but the meaning of the source should still be the same. Any language that is unique to the source should be placed in quotation marks or removed. You may find it necessary to do several edits.

CONSULT WITH THE EXPERTS

  • If you need a second opinion, ask!  Ask a librarian, a classmate, the tutoring center, or your professor. 

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