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Citing Sources

Learn more about why we cite the sources we use, how to cite sources in a specific style, and strategies for avoiding plagiarism.

What is Plagiarism?

The Council of Writing Program Administrators gives the following definition:

"In an instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledg­ing its source" (WPA, 2009).

Examples of Plagiarism

  • Forgetting to cite one or more sources.
  • Swapping out a few words from a copied paragraph even if you cite the source (called patch writing).
  • Stringing together individual sentences from different sources and not citing them.
  • Paraphrasing one or more sources and not citing them.
  • Citing a source incorrectly.
  • Inserting a citation for a source you didn't use or that doesn't exist.
  • Using portions of another paper or project you wrote/created and not citing yourself.
  • Handing in a paper or project you wrote/created for a different class.
  • Copying whole paragraphs from another source and not citing it or citing it incorrectly.
  • Copying, purchasing, or taking another person's entire paper or project and claiming it is your own.