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Plagiarism, Citation and Academic Honesty: Citing sources

When to cite

In your paper, you will have to cite whenever you do these things: 

  1. You quote someone else (use the exact words of another person)
  2. You paraphrase someone else (you are using the ideas of someone else but expressing them in your own manner of speaking)
  3. You are summarizing someone else (condensing a large quantity of material into a much smaller amount of words)
  4. Someone else's work was critical to or inspired your work
  5. You are using someone else's words or ideas as a basis for your own work (think fanfic or movies based on books)
  6. You are using facts, information, data or other research that is not common knowledge to support your ideas
  7. You use images created by someone else. You should also cite yourself as a creator when you use your own.

When not to cite

You do not need to cite when:

  1. It is common knowledge
  2. You use your own original ideas

Citation basics

Citation is a two part process, and in most cases, both parts MUST be present. 

  • The first part of a citation occurs within the body of your paper and appears at the point in your paper where you are using the words or ideas of someone else. 
  • The second part of a citation occurs at the end of your paper in a references or works cited page, and contains all the information your reader will need to find that same source. This citation will generally contain the following elements:
    • WHO wrote it (the author, artist, creator, singer, etc.)
    • WHEN it was published
    • WHAT it was called (the title of the article, book, web page, picture, etc. that you used)
    • WHERE it came from.  This will be the magazine/journal and the information about that journal for an article; the publisher and publisher location for a book; the URL (web address) for a web page, etc.

Citation can be done in many different formats. The two formats that are used most of the time at Nicolet College are APA and MLA. Your instructor should tell you what format to use for your assignment, but if you aren’t sure, please consult your instructor as soon as possible.

Citation builders

There are many citation builders available. No citation tool is 100% accurate all the time. However, these tools are fairly reliable and may help you format your citations and also understand them better!

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