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Researching at the Library: Cite

Research tips, resources, basics, and links to course-specific research guides.

Plagiarism & Source Citations

Citation is the academic way of showing that you found certain material in your work somewhere else.

The most important reason for giving the sources for all of the information, images, or sounds you are using is honesty.

Plagiarism is fraud.

See the Citation with NoodleTools guide for information on how to create a Works Cited list with NoodleTools.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is fraud. It involves passing someone else's work as your own (i.e., stealing and lying). Literary theft is not the only kind of plagiarism; theft of ideas and designs also counts as plagiarism.

See definitions in the online Merriam-Webster, or Oxford English Dictionary and Encyclopedia Britannica Online.

In order to create an original research paper you must...

Develop a topic based on what has already been said and written BUT Write something new and original
Rely on experts' and authorities' opinions BUT Improve upon and/or disagree with those same opinions
Give credit to previous researchers BUT Make your own significant contribution

Improve your English to fit into a discourse community by building upon what you hear and read

BUT Use your own words and your own voice
Source: Karl Stolley & Allen Brizee, Purdue OWL, 2012.

Accidental plagiarism - forgetting to cite a source, for example, or deciding you do not need to cite because you are unsure whether you should - is still plagiarism. If you copy something, you need to give the source!

Note: Proverbs, axioms, sayings ("Where there is a will, there is a way"), and famous quotations ("All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players") do not need to be cited.

In addition, commonly known facts ("oxygen has the atomic number 8") do not need a citation. At times it is difficult to decide whether a fact is commonly known or not.

If you are unsure, ask a teacher!

Read more at:

Why NoodleTools?

The software automatically creates and formats bibliographies. All you need to do is to type in publication information from your source and click Create Citation.

After typing in each source, the program will alphabetize your citations. You can edit your citations and export your Works Cited list at any point you wish. The strength of NoodleTools is creating, saving, and editing a full bibliography (works cited list) over time, for example for a lengthy paper. Depending on your preferences, you also might want to choose NoodleTools for an ad-free experience.

If you need to cite just one source, EasyBib and BibMe are good, fast alternatives to NoodleTools.

Also, make sure you remember your username and password; they are not linked to your school account in any way.

See the Citation with NoodleTools guide for information on how to create a Works Cited list with NoodleTools.

Need More Help?

Still have questions? Ask us!

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Why We Cite

The most important reason for citing your sources is honesty (i.e,. not plagiarizing). Citing is a sign of respect towards other writers, researchers, and creators.

Part of your job as a writer and researcher is to analyze, organize, and rewrite the information in your own words to reflect your point of view and your thinking. Moreover, the context for your paper is different from the context of your sources; you cannot simply copy sentences from your source to your paper. Using only one source for several paragraphs in a row or copying headers directly from sources is a sign that you are not thinking about your topic deeply enough.

Citing the sources of your information gives more credibility to your writing. It shows that you have done your research, and know the prominent theories and authors in the field. Furthermore, it shows that you know how to write a research paper, that you have learned (or are learning) the conventions of the academic world, that you are on your way to becoming a credible colleague to your teachers and other reseachers. 

Another important reason to cite your sources is to enable others to find the same information. Interested readers might want to follow your argument themselves or to build on your ideas on their own.

Consequences to plagiarism in school and academic setting vary from failing the assignment or the whole class to being dismissed from the institution.

The following always need the source information listed:

  • quotations, opinions, and predictions (whether directly quoted or paraphrased)
  • statistics derived by the original author.
  • visuals (=charts, photos, other images)
  • another author’s theories
  • case studies
  • another author’s direct experimental methods or results
  • another author’s specialized research procedures or findings
Source: Style for Students Online by Joe Schall, Penn State University.

Note that any sounds you use in PowerPoint presentations must also be cited.

Read more at Style for Students Online by Joe Schall, Penn State University. The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) has excellent writing and citing resources.

Citation Styles

There are several different citation styles. The most commonly used ones include for example:

  • MLA (Modern Language Association)
  • APA (American Psychological Association)
  • Chicago (CMS, CMOS; Chicago Manual of Style)
  • Turabian

Which citation style to use depends on your teacher. Always ask your teacher before starting a bibliography!

EasyBib, BibMe and Others

EasyBib, BibMe, and KnightCite offer a similar service as NoodleTools. If you need to cite just one source, these services are fast alternatives to NoodleTools.

KnightCite is a citation generator hosted by the Calvin College Hekman Library. There is no advertising on KnightCite, and it is free of charge. Creating MLA format citations with EasyBib is free; APA and Chicago/Turabian require a subscription. 

The strength of NoodleTools is creating, saving, and editing a full bibliography (works cited list) over time, for example for a lengthy paper. Depending on your preferences, you also might want to choose NoodleTools of KnightCite for an ad-free experience.

Q&A: What Constitutes Plagiarism?

Which of the following actions count as plagiarism?

  • turning in someone else's work as your own
  • copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
  • failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
  • copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not

Answer: ALL of them.

NoodleTools

NoodleTools is a citation management website subscribed to by Pescosolido Library. It will manage your sources, provide proper footnote format, export your Bibliography direct to Google Docs, and manage online notecards. Many databases including JSTOR and GALE export sources directly into NoodleTools.

Creating a NoodleTools account through the school will give you free access to the full version of NoodleTools with more options than the free version.

DIRECTIONS FOR CREATING A NEW ACCOUNT:

Need More Help with NoodleTools?

If the Citation with NoodleTools guide does not answer your question, take a look at the links below.