What is plagiarism?

Using other people’s work (in a variety of forms) in part or in whole and representing it as your own

What is documentation?

A systematic way of indicating the original source of the material or information used in your own work

Examples of two types of documentation format:

  • Author-Date:

In-text citation

      • According to Linden (1986). . . .
      • Kanzi, a bilingual bonobo, has been instrumental in renewing interest in animal intelligence (Linden, 1986).

Reference list:

Linden, E. (1986). Silent partners: The legacy of the ape language experiments. New York: Times.

  • Citation-Sequence:

In-text citation:

  • According to Linden11 . . . .
  • Kanzi, a bilingual bonobo, has been instrumental in renewing interest in animal intelligence.11
Reference list:

11Linden E. 1986. The legacy of the ape language experiments. New York: Times.

What format style should be used for documentation?

  • A style presented in a style manual commonly used by professionals in your discipline
  • A style used by journals in your field
  • A style presented in a style guide published by a professional organization in your field

What are style manuals?

Style manuals are handbooks that give reference, layout format, and, in most cases, grammar and punctuation rules.

Three of the most commonly used style guides are

  • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA)
  • Scientific Style and Format: The CBE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers (now the Council of Science Editors--formerly Council of Biology Editors)
  • American Medical Association Manual of Style

If I’m using a journal’s style format, where do I find that?

Academic journals have a “Guide for Authors” or “Instructions for Authors,” available either in the print journal or on their web site. You also should look at articles in the most recent issues of the journal.

What needs to be documented?

  • Another person’s idea or opinion
  • Anything published, including web materials
  • Your own published work
  • Interpretations
  • Drawings or photographs
  • Charts and graphs
  • Lab results
  • Lecture notes
  • Professional presentations
  • Techniques and procedures
  • Surveys and test instruments

What does not need to be documented?

Common knowledge

What is “common knowledge”?

  • “Bare-bone” facts from a dictionary or other basic reference books
    • Dates, titles of principal works or studies, proper names
  • Scientific and technical terms
  • Example of common knowledge:

    “Watson and Crick proposed a spiral model of DNA, the double helix.”

How can you effectively and appropriately use secondary source material in your writing?

  • Direct quotation
      • Copies the exact words of a source
      • Is used sparingly in graduate-level writing
  • Paraphrase
      • Restates source information in your own words
      • Assimilates research into a single style of writing to avoid awkward sentence structure, choppiness, or both
  • Summary
      • Condenses an entire article, chapter, book, or web source
      • Is much shorter than the original
  • Re-presentation
      • Draws on original source material to create tables,

How can I effectively (and ethically) paraphrase?

  1. Read and understand the original source.
  2. Use a highlighter pen only if you are going to write notes also.
  3. Write the bibliographic information down carefully and completely.
  4. Make notes using words, phrases, or a short string of words. Do NOT copy full sentences or long sections of text.
  5. Leave the material for a period of time, at the very least several hours but preferably several days.
  6. When you write your paper, use only the notes that you’ve taken.
  7. Never write your paper while looking directly at the original text.
  8. Absolutely never write your paper with photocopies of original texts in which sentences have been highlighted spread around you.
  9. Place appropriate citations in your text to indicate sources.
  10. After writing a complete section such as the background, verify details included in your paper by using the original text.
  11. Add details or make other adjustments if what you have written misrepresents the original text.

Be prepared—Plan ahead!

Effective (and ethical) writing takes time.


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