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Shapiro Library

Getting Started with Research at Shapiro Library

This guide discusses understanding information sources, formulating a topic and search phrase, where and how to search the library for information, how to evaluate sources, how to cite sources, and more.

Why do we Cite Sources?


It's not required to annoy you, we promise!  Citations are a critical component of proper academic work.  Why?

  • Proper citations give your paper credibility and authority. Show off all that hard work you did!
  • Documenting sources shows an understanding and respect for scholarly communications.  Give credit where credit is due.
  • Citations help readers identify and locate your sources.

Use the navigation bar to the left to find information on APA style, MLA style, citation management tools, and more.

What is Plagiarism?


As defined by Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, to plagiarize is:

"to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own : use (another's production) without crediting the source : to commit literary theft : present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source."
Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plagiarize 

All of the following are considered plagiarism

  • turning in someone else's work as your own
  • copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
  • failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
  • copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not (see our section on "fair use" rules)

What DON'T you need to cite?

  • Common knowledge (e.g., the sun rises in the east and sets in the west).
  • Your own opinions or experiences.

Most cases of plagiarism can be avoided, however, by citing sources. Simply acknowledging that certain material has been borrowed, and providing your audience with the information necessary to find that source, is usually enough to prevent plagiarism.

More Help Avoiding Plagiarism & Copyright Violation


For more information about avoiding plagiarism and copyright violation, use one of the links below:

For more help visit our Citation Guide