Plagiarism Guide

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There are tools available that can help you create works cited pages, or help you format citations into your papers. Here is what is covered in this section:

Why is citing important?

Citing not only shows readers that you are familiar with research in your field, but citations also provide an avenue for readers to locate those original works. It also allows you to give proper credit to other researchers, assisting you in avoiding charges of plagiarism.

When to cite

Citing is important whenever you are using material from another source, whether it is for a paper you are writing or a presentation. This includes text, images, formulas, blueprints, equations, etc. Everything that you haven't created yourself needs to be cited, even if that material doesn't have a given author. Remember, plagiarism is such a serious offense that its always safer to cite everything you use than take a chance on using someone's else work without credit.

What about citing non-text material?


Remember to cite images

Images are considered the same as any other written text and must be cited. It may be tempting to cut and paste images from websites or other digital sources but copyright must always be followed and the image source cited.

What about computer codes/algorithms?

Using someone else's computer code, algorithm, or subroutine is just like using their words in a paper. It is their original work and so you need to give them credit to avoid plagiarism. Codes are unique to the author - think about the variable names, spacing, structure - and thus you can either give credit in the comments at the beginning of the program or next to the copied lines.

How to cite equations

Knowing when to cite equations can be difficult because you might not know which equations are considered common knowledge in a field. As a general rule, always give references for equations to avoid any charge of plagiarism.

How to identify if a phrase is "common knowledge"

Common knowledge is when a phrase or idea -- such as historical events, well-known facts, or equations -- is well-known among your peers.

Here are a few rules to help you decide:

Knowing what citation style to use

Citation styles are usually discipline specific, but your professor should tell you if he or she has a preference. Don't be shy about asking your professor, if you are in doubt. You can also contact a librarian if your work is not class-assigned.

How to cite correctly

Consult a style guide to learn how to properly cite in a specific citation style. You can also use online style guides to help you with your citations such as the Purdue OWL (includes APA, MLA, & Chicago styles) or IEEE.

Remember: programs such as RefWorks and EndNote Web (see below) can help you cite properly.

Citing Made Easy

There are a variety of management programs available to help you quickly and easily create your works cited pages. The UF Libraries subscribes to RefWorks and EndNote Web, available from our databases page.

Once you find your peer-reviewed citations in any research database, quickly and easily export those citations into your citation management program. The program then creates your bibliography in seconds.

For more information on using RefWorks or EndNote Web, contact a subject librarian or visit the RefWorks Fundamentals Tutorial or EndNote Web Help page.

There are a number of other programs, such as Zotero or Mendeley, which can also help you. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages, but all of these programs allow you to manage a large number of references without ever having to hand type another works cited page!

General Tips