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Citing Sources and Preventing Plagiarism

Introduction

Once you have located sources for your project, you will want to make sure that they are used responsibly. Here is a guide on using APA citation style.

Created by the Modern Language Association, MLA style is used for:

  • Art
  • English
  • Literature
  • Philosophy

The Basic Formula for MLA Style

Author, First. "Title of Article." Title of Periodical, vol., no., Year, pages. DOI or URL

Example:

  • Written by one author: Kurtz, Thomas G. "A Random Trotter Product Formula." Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society, vol. 35, 1972, pp. 147–154. doi:10.1090/S0002-9939-1972-0303347-5
  • Written by two authors: Weisman, Caroline M, and Sean R Eddy. “Gene Evolution: Getting Something from Nothing.” Current Biology, vol. 27, no. 13, 2017, p. 663. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2017.05.056.
  • Written by multiple authors: Zhang, Xiao, et. al. "Random Graph Models for Dynamic Networks. The European Physical Journal B : Condensed Matter and Complex Systems, vol. 90, no. 10, pp. 1–14. doi:10.1140/epjb/e2017-80122-8.
  • Written by no authors: "Random Thoughts: 'hose stuff'." Fire Engineering, vol. 152, no. 6, p. 140.

Traditional Print books:

Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. City of Publication, Publisher, Publication Date.

Examples: 

  • Anderson, Carol. White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide. Bloomsbury, 2016.
  • Kendi, I. X. How to Be an Antiracist. One World, 2019.
  • Oluo, I. So You Want to Talk about Race. Seal Press, 2018.

Electronic books:

Lastname, F. M. (Year). Title of book [eBook edition]. Publisher. URL

*It is only necessary to denote format when the electronic version differs from the traditional print version.*

Audiobooks:

Lastname, F. M. (Year). Title of book (N. Narrator, Narr.) [Audiobook]. Publisher.

*It is only necessary to denote format when the audiobook version differs from the traditional print version in some way (is abridged or has additional content).*

Traditional print news article:

Author, First. "Title of Article." Title of Newspaper, Day Month Year, pages.

  • Collins-Hughes, Laura. "Provincetown: Go for the Mask Compliance, Stay for the Show." New York Times, 1 August 2020, p. C1. 

Online news article (from a publisher with a physical newspaper):

Lastname, First. "Title of Article." Title of Newspaper, Day Month Year, URL

Online news article (from a publisher without a physical newspaper):

Lastname, First. "Title of Article." Name of publishing website, Month Day Year, URL

Lastname, First. "Title of Page." Site Name, URL. Accessed Day Month Year.

Group name. "Title of page." Site name, URL. Accessed Day Month Year.

"Title of page." Site name, URL. Accessed Day Month Year.

Blogpost:

Lastname, First. "Title of Blogpost." Name of Blog, Day Month Year of blogpost, URL of blogpost. Accessed Day Month Year.

Facebook:

Lastname, First or Name of Group. "Description of Post." Facebook, Day Month Year of Post, URL. Accessed Day Month Year.

Instagram:

Lastname, First or Name of Group [@username]. "Content of the post up to the first 20 words" [Instagram Post], Instagram, URL. Accessed Day Month Year.

Twitter:

Lastname, First or Name of Group [@username]. "Content of the post up to the first 20 words" [Tweet], Twitter, URL. Accessed Day Month Year.

YouTube (or other streaming video):

Last name, First name of the creator. “Title of the video or audio.” Youtube, role of contributors and their First name Last name, URL. Accessed Day Month Year.

In-Line Citations

Whenever you use a resource and directly quote the source or paraphrase some of their ideas in your own paper, you need to cite the source in-line. This is the case when using sources in PowerPoints as well. You also must cite your sources when you are using an image in your paper or PowerPoint. All citations need to be in your References at the end of your paper or as your last slide, as well.

For more information see the below examples:

For short direct quotes, make sure to include author's last name and page number. If paraphrasing the author's ideas from the article, you do not need to include the page number, but you still are required to cite your work using the author's name. This format applies to all short in-text citations, regardless of whether you are citing a book, journal article, website, or something else.

Examples:

  • According to Smith, "kumquats are the best fruit in all of existence" (84).
  • There has been much discussion about the flavor of fruit, but "kumquats are the best fruit in all of existence" (Smith 84).
  • Debate surrounds the best tasting fruit, but Smith argues that kumquats are superior.

If there are two authors of a work, use both last names separated by the word "and". If there are three or more authors, use the first name listed and "et al."

Examples:

  •  According to Smith and Jones, "apples are better than kumquats" (68).
  • While I believe that kumquats are the best fruit, some believe "apples are better than kumquats" (Smith et al. 24).

If you're using a web source and don't have page numbers, do not count paragraphs or guess page number. Instead, just use the author's last name.

Examples:

  • While kumquats taste good, "the best fruit to put on toast is avocados" (Smith).

For even more information on MLA in-text citations, visit Purdue OWL's guide here. Have questions or you're still unsure? Ask research@bridgewater.edu.

For longer in-text citations, you will need to format your citation using a block quote. Long quotations are characterized as more than four lines in your paper. To create a block quote, you will want to use a 1/2" left-indent.

Example:

There are many ways to plagiarize, but:

Most people do not set out to deliberately plagiarize. In many cases, it occurs because students simply don't know how to properly cite the sources for their papers or projects. The best way to avoid and prevent plagiarism is to understand how to use the style guides like MLA, APA, or Chicago. Each profession has its own citation style, and you can find guides for each in the library's collection. You can also find tutorials and assistance through the Bridgewater Writing Center located in the Forrer Learning Commons. (Baugher).

Unsure how to do this? Well, simply select all of the text you would like to turn into a block quote and use the Tab key on your keyboard. This will create the 1/2" indent that you will need.

A note on using images: do not use an image in a PowerPoint or your paper without express permission of the original copyright owner. If you would like to include an image in your work, please ensure that you get the image from a source that allows for public use through Creative Commons licensing. Looking for a photograph? Try:


In MLA style, captions for images appear beneath the image. They are treated as figures, and need to have a short caption below the image as well as appear in the Works Cited as a full citation.

Fig. #. Descriptive Title XYZ, Title of Image, by Image Creator, URL.

Example:


  • Fig. 1. Photograph of cherry trees at Bridgewater College gate, Bridgewater College gate, by Alma Mater, https://ccsearch-dev.creativecommons.org/photos/b70ac89e-9400-4cfc-b305-158de3f3e8a9.

Citation Generators

To transform the above information into a proper citation, you'll need to consult the appropriate style guide. The library has copies of each guide available for use. You also may want to use one of the many citation management/generator tools that are available either for free or a subscription fee.

A word of caution when using tools such as those listed below. Don't assume that the citation is correct, instead always verify the citation before turning in your paper. Glitches and uncommon formatting can cause trouble for these automatic generators.

 

Many library databases also include an automatic citation option. This is normally indicated by a quotation mark symbol. If you're using the library's Discovery system to find articles, you are able to use the citation function directly through there. This is a great resource, but remember to proofread the citation. Notice here how the citation created reads "INSERT-MISSING-URL". 

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