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Using Research in Your Paper: Citing Sources to Avoid Plagiarism

Information on why and how to cite your sources
by

Sarah Dockray

on 6 January 2014

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Transcript of Using Research in Your Paper: Citing Sources to Avoid Plagiarism

Using Research in Your Paper:
Citing Sources to Avoid Plagiarism

When Should I Cite?
When quoting any words that are not your own (repeating from the source word for word)
When paraphrasing from a source (using an idea from a source but putting it in your own words)
When summarizing from a source (taking a lot of information, like an entire article, and condensing it into your own sentence or paragraph)
Any time you’re using an idea that is influenced from a source and not your own original idea
Citations are unnecessary when mentioning common knowledge

How Do I Cite?
There are two kinds of citations required in an MLA research paper:

Works Cited
The list of works you cited in order to write your paper are full citations on the last page of your paper.
Parenthetical (In-Text) Citations
Parenthetical citations are abbreviated citations listed within the paragraphs of your paper that link back to the works cited page. This helps the reader determine which citation on your works cited page contains the information you wrote about in that sentence or paragraph.
Works Cited
Your works cited page should contain a citation for every source you used when researching your topic and writing your paper.

Entries should be listed alphabetically by the author's last name. If your source does not list an author, the citation should begin with the title of the article (ignore words like A, An, and The).

To see how to cite various sources in MLA format, visit the Valencia College MLA Style Guides at http://valenciacollege.edu/library/mla-apa-chicago-guides/
Why Cite?
Helps you avoid plagiarism
At Valencia, you could fail a class or even be expelled for plagiarism
Gives credit to those who helped form your ideas
Provides evidence for your argument and gives you credibility as a student researcher
Citations help your professor see what sources you used, and locate them if necessary
Additional Resources
Valencia MLA Style Guides
http://valenciacollege.edu/library/mla-apa-chicago-guides/

The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University
https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/
Questions? Contact...
Sarah Dockray
Osceola Campus Librarian

sdockray@valenciacollege.edu
(407) 582-4156

Office 4-214 (inside Library)
Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8am-3pm
NOTE: Citations are unnecessary when you're mentioning common knowledge (historical events and dates, locations, well-known people, etc.)
Tips for a Successful Paper
#1: Write your works cited page FIRST
If you write your works cited page first, you will be able to add your in-text citations as you write your paper. Some students try to write the paper first, then add citations in later. This is dangerous, as you could forget where to add the in-text citation and give your instructor the impression that you plagiarized.
Tips for a Successful Paper
#2: Look for help
There are plenty of web sites and handbooks to help you properly format your citations. Some library databases even give you the article's citation! You can even visit the library to loan a copy of the official MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th edition).
Parenthetical (In-Text) Citations
Parenthetical citations are very easy to create in the body of your paper once your works cited page is complete. The parenthetical citation will go in parenthesis () at the end of your quote or paraphrased passage before the period in the sentence, and should contain the author's last name and page number where you found the quote or information (if a page number is given). For example, (Smith 24) tells your instructor to look on your works cited list for the citation of the item written by Smith, and that you found the information on page 24.
What is Plagiarism?
Plagiarism is when a writer uses someone else’s work or ideas and does not cite the original source.

When you paraphrase or cut-and-paste information from a source without giving credit to the original author, you pass it off as if it was your own thought or idea.

In order to give credit to the appropriate person, you must use MLA guidelines to cite your sources.
Sample Works Cited Page
Sample Parenthetical Citation (in red)
Sample MLA citation for a journal article. Note the parenthetical citation for the article below the works cited page entry
Not all plagiarism is intentional!
Being knowledgeable about citing your sources will help you avoid accidental plagiarism.
Did you know that you can also self-plagiarize?
Using excerpts from a past paper that you wrote is also considered plagiarism...
Parenthetical Citations - Special Cases
Not every entry on your works cited page will have an author. If no author is given, use the first few words from the title of the book, article, or web site in quotation marks within the parenthesis. For example, if you cited the article, "Planning Early for Careers in Science", your parenthetical citation would be ("Planning Early" 81).

If your item does not have a page number (like a web site or HTML journal article), do not make up a number for the in-text citation. Simply use the author name or title, whichever is appropriate based on your MLA citation. Using the example above - if the article did not have a page number, the parenthetical citation would simply be ("Planning Early")

Find out more about parenthetical citations at the Purdue University Online Writing Lab at https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/02/
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