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Citing Sources: Introduction

Citing Sources Intro

A citation identifies information you have used in writing your paper. You can cite books, articles, videos, speeches and more. A listing of citations can be called a "bibliography" or "works cited" or simply, "references."  

Why cite?    You must cite your sources whenever you use someone else's words, images, or ideas to give that person credit for his/her intellectual property. Citing sources is also necessary so the reader can find the information you used in your research. Citing sources will help you avoid plagiarism.   

Types of Plagiarism

There are different types of plagiarism:  intentional, unintentional, and self-plagiarism.
Intentional plagiarism is the deliberate use of text or other copyrighted materials copied into a paper without attribution.
Unintentional plagiarism is the most common mistake. This involves:
  • forgetting to cite a quotation
  • failure to mark a quotation as a direct quote
  • improperly summarizing or paraphrasing content
  • improperly citing a resource
Self-plagiarism is using work which you have written for one class and turning it in for credit in another class.  Always speak to your instructor if you want to use a project from one class as a basis for another project.

10 Common Types of Plagiarism

  1. Submitting another’s work, word-for-word, as one’s own

  2. Contains significant portions of text from a single source without alterations

  3. Changing key words and phrases but retaining the essential content of the source

  4. Paraphrases from multiple sources, made to fit together

  5. Borrows generously from the writer's previous work without citation

  6. Combines perfectly cited sources with copied passages without citation

  7. Mixes copied material from multiple sources

  8. Includes citations to non-existent or inaccurate information about sources

  9. Includes proper citation to sources but the paper contains almost no original work

  10. Includes proper citation, but relies too closely on the text's original wor4king and/or structure


SVC Plagiarism Policy

  • Plagiarism is presenting as one's own, intentionally or not, someone else's words, ideas, conclusions, images, or data, without specific acknowledgment.
  • This includes, but is not limited to
    • presenting the source's language without quotation marks (with or without citation);
    • paraphrased language that is not cited;
    • and/or language that is cited, but insufficiently paraphrased.
  • If students have questions about citation, acknowledgement, paraphrasing, or specific course standards related to plagiarism, they should consult with their instructor BEFORE submitting assignments that may contain questionable material.

SVC Honor Code can be found at :

Common Knowledge

Common Knowledge does not have to be cited.  It is information most people will know.  For example:
  • There are 24 hours in a day.
  • Thomas Jefferson was a US President
  • Brazil is a country in South America

Comon Knowledge is dependent upon your audience.  The common knowledge of a specialized group will be different from a group of average people.

In the Library

004.678 Avoiding
2004   23 min. Shows students how to steer clear of plagiarism through the use of quotes, paraphrasing and summarizing.
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