Module 6: Sharing

Copyright 2009-
Ryan Memorial Library
Information Literacy Portal

6.0 Objectives


  • Recognize importance of keeping track of sources
  • Determine when citing sources is necessary
  • Know how to avoid plagiarism



6.1 Transmitting Ideas


Ideas about using non-violent resistance to enact change have passed from person to person.

Thoreau   Gandhi   King   Your Ideas & Research?
Thoreau arrow Gandhi arrow King arrow Your Ideas & Research?

When you research a topic you may use information from articles, books, or the Web to support your ideas. However, you must credit the original authors of these sources by citing them. To cite means that you state where you found the information so that others can find the exact item again. In this way we build upon the ideas and knowledge of other people.

Tips for researching and citing:

  • Take clear, accurate notes about where you found specific ideas.
  • Write down the complete citation information for each item you use.
  • Use quotation marks when directly stating another person's words.
  • Always credit original authors for their information and ideas

6.2 Parts of a Citation


Write Down All Parts of a Citation

As you do your research, keep a list of your sources--books, periodicals, and the Web. Below is the type of information you need to write down from a citation with each of its important parts labeled:

Example Source Example Citation
Book: Example book citation
Article in a periodical: Example Article citation
Sources on the web: Example web citation
Online Article Example Online Article Citation


6.3 Citing Your Sources


There are a number of different styles or formats for citations. Which style you use depends upon the subject discipline you are working in. If you are uncertain about which style to use, ask your professor.

Each style includes the same basic parts of a citation, but may organize them slightly differently.

Some Commonly Used
Writing Style Guides
The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA)
The APA style is often used by students in the social sciences.
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
The MLA (Modern Language Association) style, is often used by students in languages and English.
A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations
This commonly-used style by Kate Turabian is a student version of a longer guide, The Chicago Manual of Style.
CBE (Council of Biology Editors) System is used by Biologists, zoologists, earth scientists, geneticists, and other scientists

Suggestions for Help


Online Resources

 Electronic Style Guide Online citation guides are available on the UI library Web site

  Citation Machine There is even a Website that will automatically format your citations for you (Caution: the site does not guarantee one hundred per cent accuracy, so double check the cites.)

6.4 Plagiarism



When you quote people -- or even when you summarize or paraphrase information found in books, articles, or Web pages -- you must acknowledge the original author. It is plagiarism when you

  1. Buy or use a term paper written by someone else.
  2. Cut and paste passages from the Web, a book, or an article and insert them into your paper without citing them. Warning! It is now easy to search and find passages that have been copied from the Web.
  3. Use the words or ideas of another person without citing them.
  4. Paraphrase that person's words without citing them

Cite, Reference or Document your sources:

  1. Whenever you use factual information or data you found in a source, so your reader knows who gathered the information and where to find its original form.
  2. Whenever you quote verbatim two or more words in a row, or even a single word or label that's distinctive, so the reader can verify the accuracy and context of your quotation, and will credit the source for crafting the exact formulation. Words you take verbatim from another person need to be put in quotation marks, even if you take only two or three words; it's not enough simply to cite. If you go on to use the quoted word or phrase repeatedly in your paper, however, you don't need to cite it each subsequent time.
  3. Whenever you summarize, paraphrase, or otherwise use ideas, opinions, interpretations, or conclusions written by another person, so your readers know that you are summarizing thoughts formulated by someone else, whose authority your citation invokes, and whose formulations readers can consult and check against your summary.
  4. Whenever you make use of a source's distinctive structure, organizing strategy, or method, such as the way an argument is divided into distinct parts or sections or kinds, or a distinction is made between two aspects of a problem; or a particular procedure for studying some phenomenon (in a text, in the laboratory, in the field) that was developed by a certain person or group.
  5. Whenever you mention in passing some aspect of another person's work, unless that work is very widely known, so readers know where they can follow up on the reference.

When Not to Cite, Reference or Document your sources

  1. When the source and page-location of the relevant passage are obvious from a citation earlier in your own paragraph. If you refer to the same page in your source for many sentences in a row, you don't need to cite the source again until your refer to a different page in it or start a new paragraph of your paper.
  2. When dealing with "common knowledge," knowledge that is familiar or easily available in many different sources (including encyclopedias, dictionaries, basic textbooks) and isn't arguable or based on a particular interpretation; (i.e. the date of the Stock Market Crash, the distance to Saturn, the structure of the American Congress, the date or birth of the discoverer of DNA. This is commonly available knowledge. Obviously, what counts as "common knowledge" varies from situation to situation; when in doubt ask - or cite anyway, to be safe. Note that when you draw a great deal of information from a single source, you should cite that source even if the information is common knowledge, since the source (and its particular way of organizing the information) has made a significant contribution to your paper.
  3. When you use phrases that have become part of everyday speech: you don't need to remind your reader where "all the world's a stage" or "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" first appeared, or even to put such phrases in quotation marks.
  4. When you draw on ideas or phrases that arose in conversation with a friend, classmate, instructor, or teaching assistant - including conversation by e-mail or other electronic media. You should acknowledge help of this kind, however, in a note. Be aware that these people may themselves be using phrases and ideas from their reading or lectures. If you write a paper that depends heavily on an idea you heard in conversation with someone, you should check with that person about the source of the idea. Also be aware that no instructor or teaching assistant will appreciate your incorporating his or her ideas from conversation verbatim into your paper, but will expect you to express the ideas in your own way and to develop them.
Based on:
Radford, Marie L., Susan B. Barnes, and Linda R. Barr. Web Research: Selecting, Evaluating, and Citing. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2002.

Online Resources

 Saint Charles Seminary's Integrity Policy

  Saint Charles Seminary's Copyright Policy


6.5 Is it Plagiarism?


Plagiarism ranges from copying word-for-word to paraphrasing a passage without credit and changing only a few words. Below is a sentence from a book. The original source is followed by its use in three student papers. For each student's version check the pull-down box to see if the passage would be considered plagiarism.

Original Passage

Student   Example Written Content
Abbie   The telephone was a convenience, enabling Americans to do more casually and with less effort what they had already been doing before.

Comments on Abbie's passage (click me):

This is plagiarism in its worst form. Abbie does not indicate that the words and ideas belong to Boorstin, leaving her readers to believe the words are hers. She has stolen the words and ideas and attempted to cover the theft by changing or omitting an occasional word.
Brian   Daniel J. Boorstin argues that the telephone was only a convenience, permitting Americans to do more casually and with less effort what they had already been doing before.

Comments on Brian's passage (click me):

Even though Brian acknowledges his source, this is plagiarism. He has copied the original almost word for word, yet he has not supplied quotation marks to indicate the extent of his borrowing.
Chad   Daniel J. Boorstin has noted that most Americans considered the telephone as simply "a convenience," an instrument that allowed them "to do more casually and with less effort what they had already been doing before."2

Sample Foot Note:
1 (Daniel J. Boorstin, The Americans: The Democratic Experience, page 390.
2 Excerpt, examples, and commentary below are from James M. McCrimmon, Writing With A Purpose, page 499.)

Comments on Chad's passage (click me):

Chad has done a good job. He has identified his source at the beginning of the paragraph, letting readers know who is being quoted and has provided a footnote directing them to the exact source of the statement. He has paraphrased some of Boorstin's words and quoted others, but makes it clear to the reader which words are his and which belong to Boorstin.

Online Resources

  Not Just for Students

In this article, the editor of a scholarly journal discusses the problem of identifying and eliminating plagiarism in his discipline, history.

6.6 Avoiding Plagiarism


Five Tips for Avoiding Plagiarism
1 First, use your own ideas. It should be your paper and your ideas that should be the focus.
2 Use the ideas of others sparingly--only to support or reinforce your own argument.
3 When taking notes, include complete citation information for each item you use.
4 Use quotation marks when directly stating another person's words.
5 A good strategy is to take 30 minutes and write a short draft of your paper without using any notes. It will help you think through what you want to say and help prevent your being too dependent upon your sources.

Online Resources

 UCLA Online
For detailed tips on how to paraphrase, summarize, quote, and take notes to keep it all straight, see UCLA's excellent online tutorial.

6.7 Copyright



Online Resources

 Stanford Fair Use

  The Copyright site