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Library DIY

A how-to guide with advice, videos, tutorials, and quizzes

Why citations matter

Advice

There are many reasons why it is important to cite the resources that you consult when researching a paper. The most important of these are:

  • Gives credit to authors whose works you have used (whether you quote them or not).
  • Provides a trail by which others can locate the materials you consulted.
  • Provides evidence of your research.
  • Properly citing materials is one strategy to help you avoid plagiarizing.

Avoiding plagiarism 

Advice

Plagiarism occurs when you borrow another's words (or ideas) and do not acknowledge that you have done so. Our words and ideas are considered intellectual property; like a car or any other possession, our words belong to us and should not be used without our permission.

Plagiarism is a serious offense. If it is found that you have plagiarized -- deliberately or inadvertently -- you may face serious consequences. In some instances, plagiarism has meant that students have failed classes or have had to leave the institutions where they were studying.

The best way to avoid plagiarism is to cite your sources - both within the body of your paper and in a bibliography of sources you used at the end of your paper.

Learning Modules

Writing help - presenting research and data

Advice

There are three main ways to integrate another person's work into your own.  As you write, it is important to use each method to make your writing interesting and readable. 

The three methods are:

  • Quoting - Direct quotations means that you use the exact words employed by the authors in the original text.  Usually, you will only use a few phrases or a sentence or two.
     
  • Paraphrasing -- To paraphrase something means to put the source material into your own words.  Typically, the paraphrase will be shorter than the source material. 
     

  • Summarizing -- When you need to use long passages, chapters, etc. of source material, you can rewrite the main ideas in much shorter form.  However, the ideas belong to the source material so they still need to be cited.

 

Learning Modules