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Citation Help


Avoiding plagiarism means giving any ideas that are not your own proper attribution. If you did not come up with the idea or it is not common knowledge (ex: the location of cities, the years of a president's term), you either cite the idea or you do not use the idea.

When it comes to sources that you find while doing research, you must always cite the source every time that you use it, even if you are not quoting directly from the source.

If there are people contributing ideas to your work who are not supposed to, this is plagiarism. Unless you are working on a group assignment where each person is listed as the author of the paper, no other students or people you know should be contributing ideas to your assignment. If there is someone who you are taking ideas from that you would not feel comfortable citing, do not use these ideas.


​Quotations are used when a statement from a source cannot be rephrased. The author may be using particular language that would lose some of its meaning if put into different words. The statement may lose its power or impact when rephrased.

You often provide a citation after the quote in parenthesis. You can also cite the source in an introductory phrase, although sometimes you still need to provide the page number after the quote.


​The alternative to quoting a source is to put statements from the source into your own words. This does not mean that you are just changing around a few words or replacing everything with synonyms. You are synthesizing information from the source for your own purposes.

One of the benefits of paraphrasing is that it can be done more efficiently than quoting--you can provide more information with less space. While you must always be clear that you are not manipulating another author's words or leaving out an important element, you can paraphrase longer quotations in the article by breaking it down to the essentials.

You always need to cite the source at the end of your paraphrasing. You still need an in-text citation even if you do not quote the source.