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Writing Tip #32 - Prove It: Incorporating Evidence

Scottish philosopher, David Hume (1711-1776), said: “A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.” This is the standard to which your professors will hold your papers! If you make an assertion, incorporate evidence for that statement.

For instance, if you make a statement such as: “John Doe believed that scientific proof of Bigfoot existed.” you must support that statement with evidence. Where did you find this information? The correct way to cite and reference this statement in APA format is:

John Doe believed that scientific proof of Bigfoot existed (Smith & Jones, 1998).

Reference: (on reference page) Smith, J. & Jones, J. (1998). Bigfoot. The Journal of Nature’s Beasts, 18(4), 16-18.

In academic writing, evidence usually involves the use of citations and references. If you don’t have a clue how to cite or reference, look at earlier Writing Tip posts or the Writing Center. Using evidence will show your professor that you are a serious, scholarly writer.

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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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Podcast featuring:

Sarah Allen, Master of Science in Environmental Management, University of San Francisco

Transcript Highlights:

"Completion of a Master’s project is required to graduate and my project was very large and I was using over 50 sources, most of which were academic journal articles. As I was editing my project and moving sections around, it’s really easy to get something lost or lose the source of a citation. Keeping all of that information straight and making sure it was all attributed to the proper article was really my biggest challenge."

"I had an organized system, but I really wanted to make sure that nothing had fallen through the cracks and that I had attributed all of my source material properly -- because it’s such an important academic document. It was really important to me to make sure that I had attributed everyone else’s ideas properly, as well as my own."

"WriteCheck was a huge help in verifying my citations and to make sure that I keep good academic honesty and also to make sure that my paper was as high quality as possible."

"The (WriteCheck) results were great. When I got the report back anything that I had quoted from somewhere else was highlighted. It was really easy to go through and make sure that everything was cited properly and that I hadn’t accidentally used common combinations of words that could be found elsewhere and that really everything was my own ideas or it was cited correctly."

"I would definitely use WriteCheck in the future to check my sources and make sure that I had all of my proper citations done.”

Stay tuned for more WriteCheck plagiarism prevention podcasts, or visit iTunes.

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