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Citations are often daunting, but don't be discouraged! Citations are how you reference the knowledge that you are building upon and are also a way for you as a researcher to connect with other knowledge. They are a critical way to enable the reader to understand where your information is coming from. There are different citation practices in different disciplines resulting in different styles but ultimately, all citations serve the purpose of documenting sources.
In order to avoid plagiarism, you must give credit when
You use another person's ideas, opinions, or theories.
You use facts, statistics, graphics, drawings, music, etc., or any other type of information that does not comprise common knowledge.
You use quotations from another person's spoken or written word.
You paraphrase another person's spoken or written word.
Begin the writing process by stating your ideas; then go back to the author's original work.
Use quotation marks and credit the source (author) when you copy exact wording.
Use your own words (paraphrase) instead of copying directly when possible.
Even when you paraphrase another author's writings, you must give credit to that author.
If the form of citation and reference are not correct, the attribution to the original author is likely to be incomplete. Therefore, improper use of style can result in plagiarism. Get a style manual and use it.
The figure below may help to guide your decisions.
The UCB Library Guide to Citing Your Sources discusses why you should cite your sources and links to campus resources about plagiarism. It also includes links to guides for frequently used citation styles. Also:
MLA handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th edition. New York : Modern Language Association of America, 2009. Doe Reference Reference Hall LB2369 .G53 2009 Main Gardner Stacks LB2369 .G53 2009 Many older editions available throughout the UCB libraries.
Citation management tools help you manage your research, collect and cite sources, organize and store your PDFs, and create bibliographies in a variety of citation styles. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses, but all are easier than doing it by hand!
Zotero: A free plug-in for the Firefox browser: keeps copies of what you find on the web, permits tagging, notation, full text searching of your library of resources, works with Word, and has a free web backup service. Zotero is also available as a stand-alone application that syncs with Chrome and Safari, or as a bookmarklet for mobile browsers.
RefWorks - web-based and free for UC Berkeley users. It allows you to create your own database by importing references and using them for footnotes and bibliographies, then works with Word to help you format references and a bibliography for your paper. Use the RefWorks New User Form to sign up.