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Introduction to Library Research (Greater Allegheny)

A useful starting point for doing library research, including tips and links to lots of useful resources.

Citing Your Sources

When using information or ideas from another source you must give credit to the original author. You give credit by citing the source. Make sure your citation contains everything you would need to backtrack and find the information again. It is best to pick one citation style and be consistent.

When to cite a source?

Avoid plagiarism by properly citing the sources you use in your research.

  • When you use information from a source you must provide:
    • a citation on your Works Cited (or References or Bibliography) page
    • an in-text citation in your paper

You can either directly quote your source or, even better, paraphrase information from your source. Both instances need to be cited in the text of your paper and on the Works Cited page following the body of your paper.

  • Use quotation marks to set off the information that comes directly from a source:
    • any time you use someone else's exact words
    • an important phrase or terminology
  • A paraphrase is someone else's idea written in your own words and voice
  • Other information that must be cited includes:
    • data
    • images
    • videos
    • websites
    • social media

Avoiding Plagiarism

Plagiarism occurs - intentionally or unintentionally - when you:

  • don't include complete and accurate citation information for your sources within your text and/or on your Works Cited page
  • use direct quotations incorrectly, or copy large portions of someone else's work
  • paraphrase without significantly reworking the original author's words, or without attributing the idea to the original source

Tips for avoiding plagiarism:

  • Always take notes as you read a source, wrap direct quotes in quotation marks, and make a note of the author and page number as you read.
  • Reread your paper before you turn it in, checking that every piece of information you borrowed from another source has a corresponding citation in your text and on your Works Cited page.
  • If you have any questions, ask for help! Contact your campus librarian or use the Ask A Librarian service for help with your Works Cited page and in-text citations. You can also get help from a writing tutor at the John H. Gruskin Learning Center on the lower level of Kelly Library.