This video discusses why it is important to cite information and how to avoid plagiarism.

Video Transcript:

Part of the research and writing process is to use information to further your own ideas on a topic, make your own conclusions and present your findings or argument in some format such as a paper, presentation, poster etc. Whenever you use information within your research and writing processes you must give credit to the author/authors. This idea is called citing. There are many different styles of citing information and can depend on the discipline in which you are researching and writing. The most common citation styles used are MLA normally in the English and Language disciplines, APA for psychology and education, Chicago for business and sociology, and AMA for the medical sciences. There are others that are more specialized, but these are the most common.

Why is this important to know you ask? Whenever you use ideas that are not your own, you must give credit to others.  This can include ideas, words, charts, tables and other graphics. Citing these sources are also important to the readers of your content as it allows them to go find what you used.

There are two main ways that we cite sources: in-text citations in the body of your paper in the form of paraphrasing or as direct quotes from an author and by putting citations of the sources used at the end of your paper in the reference list.  For every in-text citation you use, there must be a corresponding citation at the end of your paper in the reference list.

The last very important reason to cite your sources is to avoid plagiarism. Let’s take a moment to look at what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.

Plagiarism is defined as using another person’s ideas or words without giving them proper credit.  Even re-using class assignments in other classes is a form of self-plagiarism.  Looking at this graphic, we can see the different levels of plagiarism: paraphrasing not done properly, ideas used without referencing the original source, unacknowledged copying of material and finally submitting someone else’s original work as your own. Doing any of these things intentionally or unintentionally can run the risk of failure for the assignment, the course and can even be grounds for dismissal from the university.

A simple way to check yourself if there is a question about citing is to follow this line of questioning within the next graphic: Should I cite? Is it a quote? If yes, then use quotation marks and cite it with a page number. Is it a paraphrase of material? If yes, cite it with a text citation. Is it another’s idea or theory? If yes, cite it with a text citation. There is no need to cite if the information if common knowledge or your own thoughts. Using this quick guide can help keep you on track with using information correctly.

You must do all you can to avoid academic dishonesty. Trying to claim ignorance of these rules does not excuse the problem.

Using information ethically in your research and writing processes is part of being an informed, respectable, information literate individual. Keep these tips in mind and you will have no problem Do you have any further questions? Feel free to Ask a Librarian for help.