| Part 3: Plagiarism and documentation
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> Internet Research Guide > Part 3
General Resources

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Part 3: Plagiarism and documentation

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Citation styles
Since almost all academic writing involves situating ideas or new research into what already exists, all academics must, at times, quote and paraphrase other academics. Thus rigorous systems of citation exist, so that authors are able to give their sources credit. To avoid plagiarism, do not think you have to be entirely original and not read anything anyone else has written. Just remember that you must quote and cite your sources accurately and honestly. Quotation must support, not make, your argument.

Most systems of citation involve some kind of in-text citation (e.g., that "56" in parentheses in the quote above), as well as a works-cited or bibliography page after the main body of your paper. Note that certain disciplines use different citation styles, so you need to be aware of which one is required of you. (If you are taking a variety of classes in different disciplines, you might even have to be using different documentation styles for every paper you write.)

Two common citation styles are Modern Languages Association (MLA) style and American Psychological Association (APA) style. MLA style is generally used in fields like English, and APA is common in the social sciences like Psychology, Education, and Sociology. Further details on each of these styles are available at www.mla.org and www.apa.org.

Did you know?
That web sites like NoodleBib creates citations for you; however, you still have to provide all the correct information. Also, be sure to check that using such citation tools is okay with your instructor. (It is generally a good idea to do the entries yourself, since it is ultimately going to be you who is responsible for doing it correctly. In other words, if your citations are incorrect, it probably won’t work to blame NoodleBib.)


Internet citations, MLA Style
MLA style requires in-text citations in which you give the author and page number for information you have quoted or paraphrased: Northrop Frye describes his book The Great Code as "a study of the Bible from the point of view of a literary critic" (xi).

The parenthetical roman numeral at the end of the sentence constitutes the MLA in-text citation in this case. Note that if you name the author in the sentence, you do not need to repeat the name in the citation. Also, do not write "page" or "pg" or anything aside from the page number itself. If you do not name the author in your own sentence, put the last name only in the citation: (Smith 32).

Since there are so many possible sources you may deal with, it is best to get a recent writer's handbook

which describes how to do citations for many different circumstances including books, articles, CD-ROMs, web pages, newspapers, and so forth. Also, check the MLA web site for up-to-date information on citation style.

In addition to the in-text portion of MLA citation, you also need to construct a Works Cited page that includes entries for all the sources you've paraphrased or quoted. Do not include entries for material you just read but did not incorporate into your own work. For every author or source you mention in your in-text citation, there must be a corresponding Works Cited entry.

The Works Cited begins on a new page at the end of your paper. Entries are alphabetical. As with in-text formatting, since there are so many possible sources, you need to have a reference book handy which shows you how to format each source you've used.

Web site citations are generally formatted as follows:
Author. "Article Title." Web Site Title. Retrieval date. URL (date).

Associated Press. "Stock Markets on the Slide." Netscape Home. 3 May. 2004. www.netscape.com (15 May. 2004)


Note that there are two dates included. The first is the date of the web site's latest update or revision (if you can find it); the second is the date you visited the site and found the information. Note also that the name with which you identify the source in your in-text citation and in your Works Cited entry must match. That is, if I am reading your paper and come across an in-text citation for (Associated Press), then the works-cited entry for that source should be listed by Associated Press instead of Netscape, or "Stock Markets Slide", for example.

Internet citations, APA style
APA requires that in-text citations include author name and year: (Smith, 1998). You must include a page number for directly quoted material only, not for information you've paraphrased. Use the abbreviation p. to indicate a single page number and pp. to indicate multiple page numbers as in the example (Smith, pp. 24-26, 1998).

Where MLA style requires a Works Cited page, APA requires a References page. Because of the variety of sources you might be dealing with, you need to find an adequate resource that explains the formatting for many different entries. Check the APA web site for recent style information.

APA style for web sites is as follows:
Author. (Posting date). Article title. Web Site Name. Retrieved date from URL.

Associated Press. (2004, May 3). Stock markets on the slide. Netscape Home. Retrieved May 15, 2004 from http://www.netscape.com .
Remember, the idea of a citation is to provide enough information for the next person who comes along to follow the same trail of clues that you did. Think of a Works Cited or References page as the "methods" section of your paper, explaining how you found the sources you did.



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