When to cite

The way to be an ethical scholar and avoid plagiarism is to correctly cite all of the resources you use. You should provide a citation whether you are quoting a paragraph or just borrowing someone else's ideas. To make that job easier, make sure you collect citation information for any sources you think you may want to use in your research. This will save you a lot of work later on when you are finishing up your research project.

Make sure you cite it when...

  • You get a quote or idea from any other source than yourself. This includes books, articles, websites, newspapers, interviews, videos and more.
  • If you copied and pasted it you have to cite it!
  • If you are quoting or using an idea that another person said to you verbally or in an e-mail or text message.
  • If you copy or download and use any type of graphic: photographs, tables, graphs, logos, maps etc...

You do NOT need to cite when...

  • You are reporting the results of your own research such as a lab experiment, survey or case study
  • When you are stating "generally accepted facts" or common knowledge - for example, that the state capitol of North Dakota is Bismark or that the phases of the moon affect the tides.
  • When you are describing personal experiences, thoughts, opinions, observations or stating your original conclusions about a subject