Answered By: Jennifer Harris
Last Updated: Aug 23, 2018     Views: 9393

You need to cite sources any time and every time that you use someone else's words or ideas to answer a question, write a paper or presentation, post in a discussion board, or anything else. The only things you don't need to cite are your own opinions and experiences or common knowledge (e.g. the sun rises in the east and sets in the west).

Failing to cite sources is considered plagiarism, so when in doubt, cite! Here are some tips to help you increase the quality of your papers and avoid plagiarism:

  • Always cite all of your sources using one style consistently throughout your paper (e.g. MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.).
  • Cite sources using the correct information about the source where you found the information (e.g. don't quote Wikipedia in your paper but cite it as a different source on your reference list)
  • Use BOTH in-text citations and full citations on the References or Works Cited page at the end of the paper
  • Use quotation marks for direct quotations
  • Paraphrase properly by putting ideas into your own words and citing the source
    • Avoid changing only a couple of words from the source
    • Avoid using the same sentence structure as the source
  • Present your ideas in your own words supported by your research
    • Your paper should be mostly your own ideas and work with support from other sources
  • Turn in your own paper not someone else's
  • Turn in a paper you created uniquely for the class assignment and not a paper you completed for a previous class or assignment
  • Keep thorough notes while doing your research including citation of the source (title, author, URL, etc.), quotation marks around direct quotes, note when you paraphrase or summarize, and page numbers (when applicable).

More information:

For further help please contact the Wolak Learning Center at 603.645.9606 (UC Students) and Online Writing Center at 866.721.1662 (Online/COCE Students) for assistance.

This information is intended to be a guideline, not expert advice. Please be sure to speak to your professor about the appropriate way to cite in your class assignments and projects.

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