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Writing Tip #18: Avoiding plagiarism: References

The reference or cited works page is an integral aspect of a college paper. This page may be boring to assemble, but it is crucial. Created properly, the reference page can be a guard against plagiarism. References for each citation, except for personal communications, must be listed. Check your institution’s preferred formatting guidelines (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) for direction.

Don’t think that because the reference page is at the end of the paper that your professor will not check every last comma and period. The rules for references are very precise. This page is where you can lose a lot of points for mundane mistakes! Formatting style guides are available in hard copy book form.

Another way to find correct referencing information is to look online. Many universities have reputable sites for formatting guidelines. Be sure to look for scholarly sources for this information. Some online citation generators are not reliable. Learn how to correctly cite and reference in the format chosen by your institution of higher learning. I recommend buying the appropriate style guide and keeping it next to your computer.

An example of a journal article reference in APA format is:

Howard, T. (2010). Investing in real estate. The Real Estate Journal, 4(2), 123-126.

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Writing Tip #17: Avoiding Plagiarism: Citing

This is how you legally use someone else’s material in your papers. Students make such a big deal out of citing, but it’s an easy process that covers your behind and makes you look smart! The rules are that you must cite after you have paraphrased and after you have used quotes. Cite after each sentence in which you have used another’s idea(s).

If you have made conclusions based on what you have read from the material that you are citing, you do not have to cite that material. Those ideas are yours, and perhaps someone will need to cite you one day! Remember that your professor most likely has access to plagiarism detection software, so don’t take the chance. You are a scholar!

Check your institution’s chosen document formatting style (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) for exact guidelines. Usually, citing only entails the author (s) name(s), year of publication, and page or paragraph number for quotes. Why put yourself through the embarrassment and punishment of plagiarism accusations when citing is simple?!

An example of a (paraphrased) citation in APA format is:

“Research shows that the two theorists are correct in their assertions (Simon, 2012).”

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Published on by bcalvano.

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