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First-Year Composition

For all first-year composition classes: ENG 101, ENG 107, ENG 102, ENG 108, ENG 105.

Step Seven


Give credit where credit is due; cite your sources.

Citing or documenting the sources used in your research serves two purposes, it gives proper credit to the authors of the materials used, and it allows those who are reading your work to duplicate your research and locate the sources that you have listed as references. When other authors cite their sources properly, you can also use their research to help you with your own!

The Purpose of Citation, When and What

Why Cite?

There are four main reasons to cite:

  • To acknowledge the author(s) of the work that you used to write your paper.
  • To provide context for your research and demonstrate that your paper is well-researched.
  • To allow readers to find the original sources and learn more about some aspect that you mentioned only briefly in your paper.
  • To enable further research by letting others discover what has already been explored and written about on a given topic.

What and When to Cite?

You should always cite other people's words, ideas, and other intellectual property that you use in your paper or that influence your ideas. This includes but isn't limited to books, journal articles, web pages, reports, data, statistics, speeches, lectures, personal interviews, etc. You should cite whenever you:

  • use a direct quote
  • paraphrase
  • summarize
  • use facts or statistics that are relatively less known or relate directly to your argument

Plagiarism Tutorial: You Quote It, You Note It!

Academic Integrity and Plagarism

Academic integrity, student cheating, and plagiarism are concerns of the utmost importance to university faculty, administrators, writing center and tutoring staff, librarians, and academic advisors. These short, straightforward definitions of academic integrity and plagiarism are meant to assist persons interested in understanding more about these issues.

Academic Integrity:
Most sources define academic integrity (or academic honesty) as the foundation of academic life.  It is the manner in which you behave in an academic environment when you do research, write a paper, or create a project. The fundamental five values in this academic process are honesty, trust, respect, fairness, and responsibility. Academic integrity is the commitment to live by these values. Plagiarism is an aspect of academic integrity in that using another's ideas, words, theories, illustrations or graphics, opinions, or facts without giving credit is dishonest.
To use, steal, or represent the ideas, words, or products of another as your own ideas, words, or products. Use of someone else's ideas, words, or products without giving credit to the author or originator is considered plagiarism.

When using or quoting word-for-word the words of another person, it must be acknowledged.  Summarizing or paraphrasing the words or ideas of another without giving that person credit is also plagiarism.


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