The Writing Program at Benedictine

Citation and Avoiding Plagiarism

Students are often confused about citation: when it's necessary and how to do it.

When Citation is Necessary:
Generally speaking, if you are using an idea generated or developed by someone else, you must give them credit to avoid plagiarism. This applies whether you summarize, paraphrase, or quote a source. Plagiarism is a form of cheating and can result in extreme consequences for a student ranging from a zero on the plagiarized assignment to loss of scholarships, recommendations, and NCAA eligibility. In extreme cases, a student could be expelled from the university. See the Academic Honesty Policy for details. Take a plagiarism quiz to test your understanding.


How to Cite - the Basics:
Make it clear where in your paper another author's ideas begin and end. This is true for summaries, paraphrasing and word-for-word quotes. 

  • Phrases such as "according to..." and "[Author's last name] argues that..." are effective when indicating the start of another author's idea. (See the box at the top of page 234 of The St. Martin's Handbook - 8th edition for a list of signal verbs.)
  • An in-text citation or superscript/footnote is needed to show where in your paper the other author's ideas end. (Format of in-text citations and footnotes depends on which style you're using.)
  • Finally, a list of all sources must be included within the paper. (Format of list depends on which style you're using.)

Many students own a copy of The St. Martin's Handbook - 8th edition because it is required for WRIT 101, 102, and 104. This book has a great deal of information about four of the major styles:

  • Chapter 32: MLA Style
  • Chapter 33: APA Style
  • Chapter 34: Chicago Style
  • Chapter 35: CSE Style

Online resources on the Benedictine University Library website:

  • Citation Guides and Style Manuals: This online library guide provides general information about citation and specific information about six styles commonly used by Benedictine University students: APA, AMA, CSE, Chicago Manual of Style, MLA, and NLM.
  • Government & Legal Documents: This web page provides information about how to properly cite government and legal documents.
  • Plagiarism: This web page provides information about what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.

Online resources available at Purdue University
Online Writing Laboratory (OWL) - This site was developed by a federal grant. The point of it is so all universities don't have to develop the same web site. It's free!

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