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Citing Sources  

A guide to citing sources: when to cite and what documentation format to use
Last Updated: May 22, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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This guide is intended to help you do two things:  avoid plagiarsm and take the mystery out of citing sources. Please contact a Reference librarian at (508) 531-1394 or if you need further assistance.  And, of course, you can always contact me.


What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty.  It can have severe consequences in the academic world.  Avoid plagiarism by citing sources whenever using the ideas of another.

Take a look at this video from UMass Lowell, which provides good insight on this subject:


            When to Cite Sources

When using someone else's words, ideas, charts, images and the like, you have to acknowledge where the information came from.  Failure to do so is plagiarism.  To avoid plagiarism, use documentation to clearly identify the source of your information. It is generally better to overdo.  When in doubt, cite the source.

  A Variety of Documentation Choices

Often you will not be given a choice as to what type of documentation to use.  Your professor will specify the type required.  A simple rule of thumb is that English uses MLA; Psychology and Education use APA; History uses Turabian; Sociology uses American Sociological Association; the Sciences use CSE (formerly CBE).  Some professors may select Chicago.  If given a choice, many students prefer MLA







Decoding a citation

Occasionally, students are confused when faced with a reference to a source.  What part of the reference is needed for a Works Cited page or list of References?  And what do those numbers stand for?

Here , courtesy of Saint Anselm's College, is a look at the elements of a citation:


Citation Generators

Often, when trying to use documentation for a project, students may become more focused on the specifics of the documentation format rather than the content of the essay, report, or other document they are working on.  This is when a citation generator can be helpful.  Some citation generators, such as Easy Bib, can be accessed individually for a student.  Other citation generators are generally available, such as KnightCite.  Not all citation generators include every type of documentation, and it is important to check to make sure the citation generator is using the most current format.  Databases also provide bibliographic format styles.

Try KnightCite:


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