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UMKC University Libraries


Attribution and Plagiarism

Attribution does not always cover you when you use copyrighted work, however you should attribute or cite sources you use in your writing or creations to avoid plagiarizing. Be sure to be familiar with fair use as you incorporate the work of others into your own.

When should I cite sources?

You should cite sources that you quote, summarize or paraphrase. You should cite any ideas that are not your own. You do not have to cite commonly know facts such as George Washington being the first president. If facts can be found in at least three places, chances are this is common knowledge.

Why do I need to cite?

You should give credit to those who inspired you and helped form your ideas. Citing also leaves a breadcrumb trail for those who read your work to see whose work you used. Others may want to refer to those works for their own research.

Where do I find out how to cite sources properly?

There are several style manuals. Students should check with their teachers to see which manual they prefer. Authors are normally told by publishers which manual to use.

A few common style manuals are:

MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing

Cite It Right: A Source Aid to Citation, Research and Avoiding Plagiarism - Julia Johns and Sarah Keller<

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association - Kate Turabian, Wayne Booth, Gregory Colomb and Joseph Williams

A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers

What is the correct way to paraphrase?

See Harvard's Principles of Paraphrasing tutorial.


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