Citing/Referencing Sources
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CSUN - 2012


What is Citation?

A research project will include facts, opinions, quotations, and images taken from a variety of print, non-print, and electronic sources. Citing sources is providing select information about each source used for a project.


Why Do We Cite?


  • To give proper credit for words, ideas, graphics, or other information you borrow from others

  • To help readers find sources you used in case they want to read more from those pieces for themselves

  • To differentiate our work from another's work

  • To add value or credibility to our argument, thesis, or claim
  • To avoid plagiarism


What is Plagiarism?
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Ferris State Univ. -


"Plagiarism involves taking another person's ideas, words or inventions and presenting them as your own. Paraphrasing or rewording another person's work, without acknowledging its source, is also plagiarism." (The University of Auckland, Plagiarism 1)

What is Plagiarism ?

Cut Copy Paste = Cut Copy Cheat (Humble ISD 1)

Other Forms of Plagiarism



When Should You Quote, Paraphrase or Summarize?

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Source: Jo Heeseung @



How Do We Avoid Plagiarism?

Step One ---> In-text Citations

  • CITE or REFERENCE anything that is not common knowledge or that you did not come up with yourself
    • Always use In-text Citations = Direct Quotes & Paraphrases
      • Direct Quote ~Copying parts of a source - word-for-word - and citing the source
        • SHORT QUOTE Sample:
          • According to Murphy, the Alcatraz lighthouse "guided ships into San francisco's busy harbor, which was booming since the gold rush five years earlier" (Murphy 11).
        • LONG QUOTE (more than 4 lines) Sample:
          • (Click HERE for format)
        • Student Practice (see handout)

      • **Paraphrasing** ~Putting information from a passage/section into your own words and citing the source. Paraphrasing is different from Summarizing which "involves putting the main idea(s) into your own words..." (The Writing Lab, et. al., Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing 1).
        • Example:
          • ORIGINAL:
            • "Although the okapi resembles a zebra, it is actually a close cousin to the giraffe. Discovered in 1900, it inhabits the rainforests of the Congo area in Africa. Okapis tend to be solitary animals, secretive in their habits." (Kletzien Tab 4).
          • PARAPHRASE:
            • The okapi looks like a zebra, but it is kin to the giraffe. They found it in Africa in 1900, but that was hard because it lives alone and is hard to find. Now, let's check and see if I remembered the information and put it into my own words (Kletzien Tab 4).
        • Student Practice (see handout)

Step Two --> Documenting Your Sources

Most Common MLA Citations:

- Click the type of source you need to cite below.




For more help:




How to format your Works Cited page

(See sample)

  • Citations are cited in full on a separate page, the last page of the document

  • Notice the word “Works Cited” is centered on the page

  • All margins should be set at one inch.

  • Double space within and between entries.

  • Do not number entries in the bibliography/works cited page.

  • Be consistent with your citations.

  • Entries are listed in alphabetical order according by author's last name. If the source has no author, alphabetize according to the first word of the title excluding "a," "an," and "the."

  • The first line of each entry is flush left, with the following lines (if any) indented one-half inch (hanging indent). To set hanging indent feature in Microsoft Word, at HOME go to PARAGRAPH, under SPECIAL, choose HANGING (with .5”).

  • Italicize title of works and databases and use upper and lowercase lettering.

  • Include page numbers only when you use a source that is part of a larger work.

  • If your bibliography/works cited page contains two works by the same author, you need not repeat the author's name a second time. In place of the name, type three hyphens, followed by a period and the title. Alphabetize according to the titles of the works.

  • Separate major items with a period. End the entry with a period.

  • When you review your Bibliography/Works Cited page, see that it resembles the sample found on the Purdue Online Writing Lab.

  • Student Practice (see handout)