Knowledge is cumulative, always building on what has come before. Primary sources are ideas that the writer will interpret, secondary sources are ideas that are interpretive that the writer builds on. Citing sources gives the writer credibility by differentiating between his/her original ideas and those s/he is building on and by substantiating his/her claims. One is obliged to cite sources so that the reader can determine credibility of that source. Citations show that a writer has thoroughly researched and thought out his/her subject.
Integrating Sources into a Paper
1.1 Three Basic Principles
Be concise. Clarify when you (the writer) are speaking and when you are referring to someone else’s work. Make it clear how this source or idea relates to the rest of what you are saying.
1.2 Rules For Quoting
Do not quote unnecessarily. Establish continuity between the quotation and your writing. Prepare your readers for a quotation and choose your words carefully while doing so. Follow punctuation rules and quote verbatim.
1.3 Quoting Blocks
For longer quotations, use a quotation block: ten spaces from the left margin, no quotation marks, with explanations before and after the block.
1.4 Using Discursive Notes
Add commentary to your paper to clarify your argument. Explain when things are your own translations or your unique way of citation. Suggest further reading, especially of ideas that have influenced or are similar to yours.
2.1 When To Cite
Cite when referring to facts, when quoting verbatim, when using some else’s ideas or method, or when mentioning their ideas or method in passing.
2.2 When Not To Cite
You do not need a citation when the source material is obvious (such as when you have just cited it in the previous sentence), when dealing with commonly known facts, when using common phrases or ideas only discussed in conversation.
2.3 Methods of Citing
Some methods of citing include sequential notes such as end or foot notes, in-text citations such as author-page style, or coding such as having a specific number for each of your references.
2.4 Acknowledging Uncited Sources
While not all sources need formal citation, writers should acknowledge help from these other sources in an end or footnote.
Misuse of Sources
Plagiarism is appropriating another’s ideas as your own, whether by specifically saying that they are yours or by omitting source information. Plagiarism consists of failing to cite data, ideas, or methodology of another or by stating their words verbatim without quotation.
3.2 Other Ways of Misusing Sources
Writers also misuse sources when they misrepresent evidence to suit their own claims, collaborate when disallowed or represent collaboration as the work of one author, submit the same work for two purposes, or help someone else misuse a source.
3.3 Special Hazards of Electronic Sources
Online sources have special caveats-many are untrustworthy, so check your source out. Also, print it so you can produce it if necessary.
3.4 Disciplinary Consequences
If caught plagiarizing, a writer will likely fail their course, receive academic suspension, and the mistake will remain permanently on their academic record.
3.5 How to Avoid High Risk Situations
Do not procrastinate. Use mainly primary sources. Do not rely on a single source. Be sure to differentiate between your ideas and the ideas of others. Be engaged while taking notes. Do not try to write in a voice that is not your own. Do not read another’s paper or notes before writing yours, or collaborate with another person on your individual projects. Always turn in original (new) work. Backup your files. If you come across an idea similar to yours, acknowledge it and expound on it, or make a note referring to it and how you found it. Do not use this as a “trick” to cover a stolen idea.
Styles of Documentation
This section gives straightforward “how-tos” on citation for different disciplines and styles.