It can be challenging to use citations in your paper. How should you introduce your sources? What and when do you need to cite? When should you paraphrase, summarize, or use a direct quotation? What do those terms even mean?
Here are some things to consider when using resources in your writing.
- Establish what does and does not need to be cited. In general, common knowledge does not need to be cited. This includes information in encyclopedias or dictionaries, facts and biographical information about well known people, and dates and major information about historical events. If you are unsure if the information is common knowledge, err on the side of caution and cite your source.
- Learn what constitutes plagiarism. The short video in the right hand column will help. There are many different ways you can plagiarize information. In order to avoid plagiarism, cite your source any time you summarize, paraphrase, or directly quote from something.
- Learn the differences between summarizing, paraphrasing, and direct quotations.
- Always introduce your sources so they are clear to your reader. Use words and phrases such as according to, states, suggests, argues, claims, etc. An example might be the following: Librarian Jean Ping suggests that a citation guide always be used for reference when writing citations (22).
- When in doubt, ask for help. You can ask a librarian, your instructor, or contact CAS.