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ENG 335 Environmental Literature (Peterson): Why & How to Cite

This guide will assist you in locating library resources for your study of environmental literature.

Citation Styles

Citation styles can be difficult to learn.

Here are links to guides for some of the most popular style guides.

MLA (8th ed.)

Chicago Manual of Style

Turabian Guide for Writers

These Guides are from OWL, the Purdue Online Writing Lab.

What is MLA?

MLA

MLA (Modern Language Association) style specifies guidelines for formatting manuscripts and using the English language in writing. MLA style also provides writers with a system for referencing their sources through parenthetical citation in their essays and Works Cited pages.

  • As with any citation stystem using it correctly protects the writer from accusations of plagiarism. As mentioned earlier in this guide proper citation builds credibility to the paper by demonstrating accountability to source material.

    If you are asked to use MLA format, be sure to consult the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th edition). Publishing scholars and graduate students should also consult the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (3rd edition). The MLA Handbook is available in College Library and in the ASUCLA bookstore.

Online Citation Generators

TIP! Save time and avoid plagiarism--cite correctly and easily with APA, MLA or Chicago style!

 

To Cite or NOT to Cite?

'Facts are different from ideas: facts may not need to be cited, whereas ideas must always be cited.' - Academic Integrity at Princeton University

When to Cite

  • Direct quotes

Quotation- Any verbatim use of a source, even one word, must be placed in quotation marks and cited.

  • Ideas (that are not your own)

Paraphrase-Paraphrase is a restatement of another person’s thoughts or ideas in your own words. Don't use quotation marks but do cite the source you are paraphrasing.

Summary- is a concise statement of another person’s thoughts or ideas in your own words. A summary is normally shorter than the original.

Facts, Information, and Data- Often you’ll want to use facts or information to support your own argument. If the information is found exclusively in a particular source, you must clearly acknowledge that source.

When NOT to Cite 

Common Knowledge-When facts or information is generally well known and accepted you do not need to cite a source.

Example:

  1. John Quincy Adams was the first President of the United States who was the son of  U.S President (John Adams).
  2. Water freezes at 0° C or 32° F.
  3. The Capital of Spain is Madrid.
  4. The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday, 18 June 1815.

Common knowledge does not require citation, but finding the same fact or piece of information in multiple sources doesn’t necessarily mean that it counts as common knowledge.

When in doubt- Cite.


Information taken from "When to Cite Sources." - Academic Integrity at Princeton University. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013.

Best Practices for Avoiding Plagiarism

There are many ways to avoid plagiarism, including developing good research habits, good time management, and taking responsibility for your own learning. Here are some specific tips:

  • Don't procrastinate with your research and assignments.
    Good research takes time. Procrastinating makes it likely you'll run out of time or be unduly pressured to finish. This sort of pressure can often lead to sloppy research habits and bad decisions. Plan your research well in advance, and seek help when needed from your professor, from librarians and other campus support staff.
  • Commit to doing your own work.
    If you don't understand an assignment, talk with your professor. Don't take the "easy way" out by asking your roommate or friends for copies of old assignments. A different aspect of this is group work. Group projects are very popular in some classes on campus, but not all. Make sure you clearly understand when your professor says it's okay to work with others on assignments and submit group work on assignments, versus when assignments and papers need to represent your own work.
  •  Be 100% scrupulous in your note taking.
    As you prepare your paper or research, and as you begin drafting your paper. One good practice is to clearly label in your notes your own ideas (write "ME" in parentheses) and ideas and words from others (write "SMITH, 2005" or something to indicate author, source, source date). Keep good records of the sources you consult, and the ideas you take from them. If you're writing a paper, you'll need this information for your bibliographies or references cited list anyway, so you'll benefit from good organization from the beginning.
  • Cite your sources scrupulously.
    Always cite other people's work, words, ideas and phrases that you use directly or indirectly in your paper. Regardless of whether you found the information in a book, article, or website, and whether it's text, a graphic, an illustration, chart or table, you need to cite it. When you use words or phrases from other sources, these need to be in quotes.
  • Understand good paraphrasing.
    Simply using synonyms or scrambling an author's words and phrases and then using these "rewrites" uncredited in your work is plagiarism, plain and simple. Good paraphrasing requires that you genuinely understand the original source, that you are genuinely using your own words to summarize a point or concept, and that you insert in quotes any unique words or phrases you use from the original source. Good paraphrasing also requires that you cite the original source. Anything less and you veer into the dangerous territory of plagiarism.

For more information visit the Seaver College's Academic Integrity Policies.