When to Cite

The following must be cited:

  • Direct quotations – whenever you quote either a person or a printed source, you must cite that source immediately so that there is absolutely no confusion over the origin of the source.

  • Anything that is not common knowledge – when we speak of common knowledge, keep in mind that we are defining common knowledge as common knowledge within the field.” For example, if you were to state in your paper that Whitman invented free verse that would be considered common knowledge: Any English major or English instructor should be aware of this well known fact. Keep in mind, however, that it is always best to err on the side of safety. When in doubt, cite your source.
  • Original ideas, not your own – if you had the idea first, and then you saw the idea in print, legally it would be all right not to cite it. However, keep in mind that it is best to protect yourself from charges of plagiarism: Cite the source.
  • Summarized material – if you are summarizing material from a source, you must cite the source.
  • Paraphrased material – this is the greatest cause of all Honor Code violations. Paraphrasing does not mean that you simply change a couple of words in the original version nor does it mean that you simply substitute synonyms whenever possible. To properly paraphrase a source the material must be put in your own words. If your material matches the original closely in sentence structure and word choice, you have not paraphrased correctly and could be charged with plagiarism. If you’re only changing a few words, quote rather than paraphrase.
  • Statistics – all statistics must be cited and the source of all statistics must be clear to readers in the body of your report.
  • Graphics other than clip art – any graphic material (photographs, line drawings, charts, graphs) that is not clip art and is not of your own making must be cited.

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