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How to use information sources properly (and avoid plagiarism).

Why Cite?

Any time you use someone else's information or ideas, you must acknowledge--or cite--the source.  

Credit must be given for all types of information sources:  movies, words, ideas, music, images, photos, software, charts, graphs, books, journals, magazines, newspapers...  

If you don't give credit, you've plagiarized.  Plagiarism is using someone else's ideas or words without giving credit to the information source, even if it is accidental or if "you didn't know".

The only time you don't need to cite an information source is when you use "common knowledge".

Image source: JRM.  Public domain.  Wikimedia Commons.

When Do I Cite?

When you borrow words or ideas from another source, you need to acknowledge that source. You will always need to cite whenever you:

  1. use quotes
  2. paraphrase
  3. summarize
  4. use an idea that someone else has already expressed
  5. make specific reference to the work of another
  6. use someone else's work that has been critical in developing your own ideas.

 "What is Plagiarism?" (n.d.)  Retrieved March 29, 2018..

How Do I Cite?

There are multiple styles available for citing information resources. 

Different subject fields use different styles:  Biology typically uses CSE; Chemistry --  ACS; English --  MLA;  History -- Chicago;  Physical Therapy -- AMA; Psychology -- APA;  Sociology --  ASA.   If you're uncertain which style you should be using, ask your professor.  

  How to Cite
ACS American Chemical Society
AMA American Medical Association
APA American Psychological Association
ASA American Sociological Association
Chicago University of Chicago
CSE Council of Scientific Editors
MLA Modern Language Association
Turabian Kate Turabian

Academic Honesty

"Lebanon Valley College expects its students to uphold the principles of academic honesty.  Violations of these principles will not be tolerated. Students shall neither hinder nor unfairly assist the efforts of other students to complete their work. All individual work that a student produces and submits as a course assignment must be the student’s own.

...Plagiarism is the act of submitting as one’s own the work (the words, ideas, images, or compositions) of another person or persons without accurate attribution. Plagiarism can manifest itself in various ways: it can arise from sloppy, inaccurate note-taking; it can emerge as the incomplete or incompetent citation of resources; it can take the form of the wholesale submission of another person’s work as one’s own, whether from an online, oral or printed source." 

Considered an act of academic dishonesty, plagiarism can result in failing the assignment, failing the course, and explusion from the College.

Source: "Academic Honesty."  Lebanon Valley College Catalog.  Accessed 5 December 2012.

Instruction and Reference Librarian

Donna Miller's picture
Donna Miller
Subjects:Research Help