Source citation in research:
"Plagiarism is the act of presenting the words, ideas, or images of another as your own; it denies authors or creators of content the credit they are due. Whether deliberate or unintentional, plagiarism violates ethical standards in scholarship” (see APA Ethics Code Standard 8.11, Plagiarism).
Plagiarism is the presentation of another’s work as if it were one’s original. Proper and complete citation and reference, in accordance with APA style guidelines, is required of all student work. Specific examples of plagiarism include:
Plagiarism is the presentation of another’s work as if it were one’s original work. This includes both deliberate and accidental acts. The following are some of the major common types.
|Direct Plagiarism||Copying work exactly without citation and presenting it as original|
|Self Plagiarism||Re-submitting or re-using your own previously published or submitted work without permission or notice|
|Paraphrasing Plagiarism||Copying work and making minor changes without citation and presenting it as original|
|Patchwork Plagiarism||Copying work and interspersing it with original work but presenting it all as original|
|Accidental Plagiarism||Failure to properly cite or paraphrase|
|Bad Attribution||Failure to correctly attribute work - mislabeling the actual authors or creators|
Can’t I avoid problems just by listing every source in the bibliography? No, you need to integrate your acknowledgements into what you’re saying. Give the reference as soon as you’ve mentioned the idea you’re using, not just at the end of the paragraph. It’s often a good idea to name the authors (“X says” and “Y argues against X,”) and then indicate your own stand (“A more inclusive perspective, however, . . . “). The examples in this file and the one on Standard Documentation Formats show various wordings. Have a look at journal articles in your discipline to see how they refer to their sources.
If I put the ideas into my own words, do I still have to clog up my pages with all those names and numbers? Sorry—yes, you do. In academic papers, you need to keep mentioning authors and pages and dates to show how your ideas are related to those of the experts. It’s sensible to use your own words because that saves space and lets you connect ideas smoothly. But whether you quote a passage directly in quotation marks, paraphrase it closely in your own words, or just summarize it rapidly, you need to identify the source then and there. (That applies to Internet sources too: you still need author and date as well as title and URL. The handout Standard Documentation Formats gives examples for a range of types.)
But I didn’t know anything about the subject until I started this paper. Do I have to give an acknowledgement for every point I make? You’re safer to over-reference than to skimp. But you can cut down the clutter by recognizing that some ideas are “common knowledge” in the field—that is, taken for granted by people knowledgeable about the topic. Facts easily found in standard reference books are considered common knowledge: the date of the Armistice for World War I, for example, or the present population of Canada. You don’t need to name a specific source for them, even if you learned them only when doing your research. In some disciplines, information covered in class lectures doesn’t need acknowledgement. Some interpretive ideas may also be so well accepted that they don’t need referencing: that Picasso is a distinguished modernist painter, for instance, or that smoking is harmful to health. Check with your professor or TA if you’re in doubt whether a specific point is considered common knowledge in your field.
So what exactly do I have to document? With experience reading academic prose, you’ll soon get used to the ways writers in your field refer to their sources. Here are the main times you should give acknowledgements. (You’ll notice many different formats in these examples. See the file on Standard Documentation Formats for advice on these systems.)
Quotations, paraphrases, or summaries: If you use the author’s exact words, enclose them in quotation marks, or indent passages of more than four lines. (For more on the mechanics of quoting, visit our file on using quotations.) But it’s seldom worthwhile to use long quotations. In literary studies, quote a few words of the work you’re analysing and comment on them. In other disciplines, quote only when the original words are especially memorable. In most cases, use your own words to paraphrase or summarize the idea you want to discuss, emphasizing the points relevant to your argument. But be sure to name sources even when you are not using the exact original words. As in the examples below, it’s often a good idea to mention the author’s name. Mentioning the author’s name indicates where the borrowing starts and stops and gains you some reflected glory for responding to the experts.