Skip to main content

ENGL 105 - The Activist: How to Cite Sources

Citing Correctly and Avoiding Plagiarism

Per Skyline College's Course Catalog, "Plagiarism is representing the work of someone else as his/her own and submitting  it to fulfill academic requirements." Plagiarism is cheating and is viewed as "academic dishonesty" and therefore, "academic misconduct." For more information, see Academic Integrity/Honesty.

You have plagiarized when you...

  • Turn in someone else's paper or essay as your own
  • Copy sections from another sources without properly citing the source
  • Copy and paste sections from a web page into your paper without properly citing the source. Information found on the Internet is not free
  • You express the ideas of another author and pretend they are your own original ideas                                                                                     

To avoid plagiarism, you must give credit by citing sources whenever you use

  • another person’s idea, opinion, or theory

  • any facts, statistics, graphs, drawings—any pieces of information—that are not common knowledge

  • quotations of another person’s actual spoken or written words

  • paraphrase of another person’s spoken or written words

You don’t need to cite sources when the information you write about are common facts, your own original research, and/or your own opinions and evaluations.

Some tips to avoid unintentional plagiarism

  • Start early! Research and writing may take much longer if your native language is not English. 
  • Take accurate notes when you are doing research.
  • Write down the complete citation for each item you might use. If you have made copies of journal articles, book chapters, or other materials, be sure that the author, title, subtitle, date, and all the other necessary citation information is on the photocopy. If you aren't sure what information is needed for a citation, check the citation style you will be using.
  • Follow required style guide (APA, MLA) when you are writing your paper to properly credit your sources.
  • When in doubt, cite!

How to Cite

Citing is more than just creating a Reference or Works Cited List! 

Whenever you use another person's language, ideas, or other original content, you need to acknowledge this both within the body of your paper using in-text citations and at the end of your paper in the bibliography or reference page. 

Your professor will let you know what citation style guide (e.g., APA, MLA) is required for the assignment. This style guides are usually specific to your discipline or area of study.
 

APA (American Psychological Association) - commonly used in the Social Sciences.

MLA (Modern Language Association) - commonly used for Humanities and Liberal Arts.

For more and detailed information, please refer to MLA and APA library guides or Purdue OWL: APA Formatting and Style Guide and MLA Formatting and Style Guide