Citing Sources

If you do research and incorporate ideas or quotes from another source into your research produt you have to cite the source. You have to do this because:

If you do not cite sources you are stealing someone else's work or ideas.

If you don't cite sources you are violating the student conduct code.

Plagiarism, using someone elses work and passing it off as your own, is a big deal at Sac State and if you are caught doing it you face penalties ranging from your instructor asking you to redo your bibliography to being kicked out of CSUS. Yes, you Sac State can and will kick out students who plagiarize. Read more about the Academic Dishonesty Policy at Even unintentionally missing a citation in a research paper can be considered plagiarism.

Below are some tips to avoid plagiarizing a document:

If in doubt, cite where you got the information from! If you are not sure whether you should cite a passage or concept, do it. Unless something is accepted as common knowledge like “Columbus sailed in 1492” then in general it is a safe idea to simply add a citation, either in text, in a footnote, or a parenthetical citation.

Make a works cited page as you write your paper. While you are writing and including citations to strengthen your arguments or prove points simply make a note in your bibliography and works cited page. That way you will not need to hunt through all the resources at the end of the project trying to remember which idea or sentence came from whom.

Take a test to see if you understand Plagiarism. The Indiana University School of Education has an online test to check your skills at detecting plagiarism.

Refer to your Style Manual frequently. No matter what citation style you're using, check the style manual frequently to see how they cite sources and create bibliographies. The APA manual has an excellent example of a research paper and is a valuable resource to consult if and when questions arise.

Check out these links to other sources on citation and plagiarism

CSUS Library: Plagiarism Information for CSUS Students and Faculty

CSUS Writing Center Home page

CSUS Library: Style Guides

CSUS Library: APA Style Guide (APA 5th Edition)

CSUS Library: MLA Style Guide

CSUS Library: Citing Electronic Sources

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