Citation Guides



How to Cite Sources and Avoid Plagiarism

What is plagiarism?

  • Turning in another person's work as your own, and this includes a paper from free website

  • Copying a paper, an excerpt, a paragraph, or a line from a source without saying where you got it from. You have to say what source you used whether it is a print source, such as a book, journal, monograph, map, chart, or pamphlet, or from a non-print source, such as the web or an online database.

  • Taking materials directly from a source, supplying proper documentation, but leaving out quotation marks

  • Paraphrasing materials from a source without documentation of that source

  • Purchasing a paper from a research service or a commercial term paper mill

  • Sharing or swapping from a local source including student papers that were previously submitted.

  • Creating invalid or faked citations

What will happen if you plagiarize? You may:

  • Have to repeat the assignment

  • Fail the course

  • Be placed on academic suspension 

How can you avoid plagiarizing?

Acknowledge sources by giving credit. If you don't, intentionally or not, it is plagiarism.

What are some sources that need to be credited or acknowledged?

Books, periodicals, pamphlets, charts, statistics, maps, interviews, television, radio, Internet, online databases, and many other types of material. When credit is properly attributed, you reduce the chance of plagiarizing.

Some tips on preventing plagiarism:

Be organized – When you first begin a research project, establish order while gathering information. This will help to alleviate confusion and problems, especially when the time comes for the bibliography, works cited, and reference pages to be prepared.

Use a note card or an online folder to identify the following:

  1. Source (citation) - common sources:

    1. Book: Author, Title, Publisher, Place and Year of publication
    2. Periodical: Author, Title of Article and Periodical, Year, Vol. Issue and Pages
    3. Internet: URL/Web Address, Author, Title, and the Date site was accessed

    1. Note the page numbers, enclose quoted material in quotation marks, and include a link to the source.


  3. Paraphrasing/Summarizing:

    1. In your notes, indicate points and ideas in your own words and, again, create a parenthetical reference to the source.


  • If the information is factual or well documented, (e.g. John A. MacDonald was the first Canadian Prime Minister), then it not imperative to cite.
  • If the information requires credit or documentation, cite it.  Information on the Internet, including research papers from paper mills, is available to all and your professors can easily find these sources.
  • Professors are experts in their fields, and knowledgeable about current and past research.

Adapted from: Madray, Amrita. “Students' Guide to Preventing and Avoiding Plagiarism,” Long Island University, February 2006.

Why are citations important?

Citations are like an address – they give the reader information about where the source you used in your paper can be found. If your professor does not indicate that a particular style guide should be used you can use APA, Turabian, MLA or Chicago styles. The Library has printed copies of the style guides in the reference section of the library.


Citation Help: Library Catalogue

It is possible to save a citation from the library catalogue. Find the title you want to cite, then under “Select Download Format”, select “Brief Record.” Click on “Format for Print/Save.” You will have to edit the citation to meet the standard of any of the style guides.

Record Options
Select Download Format
Enter your email address:


Citation Help: World Cat

Alternately, you can go to WorldCat – either through the Library Databases or through WorldCat.

You can build a bibliography by using the publically accessible database You can get citations in five common styles and copy and paste your source to your bibliography. If you want to set up files, you have to join – involving giving an email address and your name. Search WorldCat and click on the hyperlinked title of your source. Click on Cite/Export. You will be given style guide options:

A box will then open up with your citation in it. You can then copy and paste it into your bibliography. If you chose to join, you could create a bibliography for each paper you are writing.

Online Style Guides

Online Bibliography Builders

  • Check out a summary of Citation Generators produced by the University Libraries at University at Albany – SUNY.
  • Michigan State University Libraries has a great site for Citation Guide and Generators
  • EasyBib: The Automatic Bibliography & Citation Maker – FREE
  • Ottobib “Make a bibliography. It's free, easy and OttoMatic.” This site also has a good citation guide.
  • Hekman Library at Calvin College has KnightCite that allows you to produce citations to one item at a time.


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