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Online Reference: Writing and Presenting

When Should You Give Credit?

Need to Document No Need to Document
  • When you are using or referring to somebody else’s words or ideas from a magazine, book, newspaper, song, TV program, movie, Web page, computer program, letter, advertisement, or any other medium
  • When you are writing your own experiences, your own observations, your own insights, your own thoughts, your own conclusions about a subject
  • When you use information gained through interviewing another person
  • When you are using "common knowledge" — folklore, common sense observations, shared information within your field of study or cultural group
  • When you copy the exact words or a "unique phrase" from somewhere
  • When you are compiling generally accepted facts
  • When you reprint any diagrams, illustrations, charts, and pictures
  • When you are writing up your own experimental results
  • When you use ideas that others have given you in conversations or over email

(Purdue University Online Writing Lab)

To learn more, take this simple plagiarism tutorial created by Ted Frick at Indiana University.

The World Wide Web

The World Wide Web is a popular source for student research papers. Many students perceive information from web sites as being "free" and therefore "fair game" for copying into the text of an academic assignment. If you use information from an Internet source, you must give credit to the source in your paper.

Make the Paper Your Own

A paper full of long quotations that are connected with a few words of your own has a choppy style and gives a reader the impression that you cannot think for yourself. Use your own words to express your thoughts, opinions and ideas. To avoid quoting excessively, summarize and paraphrase your sources into your own language. (Hacker 575)

Documenting Sources

All quotes, paraphrases, and ideas from other sources must be cited in both the text of your paper and in a list of works cited at the end of your paper. The citation within the text of the paper should refer readers to a full bibliographic citation in your list of sources.

Guides for various citations styles can be found on the Citing Sources reference guide.

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