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Plagiarism: Citing Sources

What it is and ways to avoid it, with exercises and examples

When in Doubt, Cite!

Not too sure these are truly your own words?  When in doubt, cite!

Why Cite?

  • To distinguish between what is yours and those of others. So, don't cite your opinions, ideas, thoughts, interpretations, judgements, personal experiment, personal observation, commentary, analysis, argument, rarrative, description, designs, figures, images, etc...anything that you originated.
  • To acknowledge someone else's work and ideas.
  • To let others know that these are not your words (if you disagree with them).
  • To receive credit for the work you have done (shows off your research and writing skills).
  • To provide your readers with specific information (author, title, publication date and publisher, volume, issue and page numbers) to verify your sources or pursue a topic further.

Citing to Avoid Plagiarism

Taken from the Student Guidebook to Resources and Citation - Pearson Publishing

1. Provide clear attribution of outside sources.

2. Identify all works and phrases taken from sources by  enclosing them  within quotation marks.

3. Follow all quotations, paraphrases, and summaries of outside sources with appropriate and complete citations.

4. Use your own words and sentence structure when you paraphrase.

5. Be certain that all summaries and paraphrases of your sources are accurate and objective.

6. Include all print and retrievable electronic sourcs in the References page that follows the body of your papers.

7. Provide documentation for all visual images, charts, and graphs from printed or electronic sources.

Templates for Introducing Quotations

From Purdue OWL website: Quotations need to be taken from their original context and integrated fully into their new textual surroundings.  Every quotation needs to have your own words appear in the same sentence.  Here are some easy to use templates* for doing this type of introduction::

Templates for Introducing Quotations

X states, “__________.”

As the world-famous scholar X explains it, “________.”

As claimed by X, “______.”

In her article _______, X suggests that “_________.”

In X’s perspective, “___________.”

X concurs when she notes, “_______.”

You may have noticed that when the word “that” is used, the comma frequently becomes unnecessary.  This is because the word “that” integrates the quotation with the main clause of your sentence (instead of creating an independent and dependent clause).  

Now that you’ve successfully used the quotation in your sentence, it’s time to explain what that quotations means—either in a general sense or in the context of your argument.  Here are some templates for explaining quotations:


Templates for Explaining Quotations


In other words, X asserts __________.

In arguing this claim, X argues that __________.

X is insisting that _________.

What X really means is that ____________.

The basis of X’s argument is that ___________.

Source:  Purdue OWL [https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/930/10/]

What is a Citation?

A citation is a standard way to describe a published or unpublished source (book, journal article, chapter, website, figure, image, idea, etc.). This makes it easy to find the source and provides some consistency. They are found in bibilographies, reference and work cited lists in articles and books.

A citation may look different depending on the work being cited or the citation style.  Most citations consist of these common elements:

  • author name(s)
  • title of book and journal (also called source title)
  • title of article
  • place of publication, publisher (for books)
  • volume and issue (for journal articles)
  • date of publication
  • page numbers

Example:

Angelou, Maya. A Brave and Startling TruthNew York:

Random, 1995.

Ray, Robert B. “How to Teach Cultural Studies.”  Studies in the

Literary Imagination 31.1  (1998) :  25-36

In-text citation examples

Paraphrase, page number citation:

Montagu claims that American men have a diminished capacity to be human because they have been trained by their culture not to cry (248).

Lead in (book and author), direct quote,  page-number citation:

In his book The American Way of Life, Ashley Montagu writes, “The trained inability of any human being to weep is a lessening of his capacity to be human – a defect which usually goes deeper than the mere inability to cry” (248).

Lead in (Author), direct quote, page-number citation

According to Montagu, “To be human is to weep” (248).

Direct quote, page-number citation:

“If we feel like it,” writes Montagu, “let us have a good cry – and clear our minds of those cobwebs of confusion which have for so long prevented us from understanding the intellectual necessity of crying” (248).

Lead in, direct quote, author and page-number citation:

One distinguished anthropologist calls the American male’s reluctance to cry “a lessening of his capacity to be human” (Montagu 248).

Lead in (author), direct quote, page-number citation in between sentences.

When my grandfather died, all the members of my family – men and women alike – wept openly.  We have never been ashamed to cry. As Montagu writes, “to be human is to weep” (248). I am sure we are more human, and in better mental and physical health, because we are able to express our feelings without artificial restraints.