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When to Cite
It's an important skill to know when and what you need to cite, and something that takes on-going attention to get really good at. Below are some overviews of best practices.
Some content adapted from the Library's "Preventing Plagiarism" tutorial, as well as the CAT3 course guide.
Plagiarism can be unintentional or intentional when ideas, text, and creative work are used but not cited in academic, professional, and personal work.
Common forms of plagiarism can include:
- Passing off another's ideas or work as your own
- Fabricating citations
- Copying, cutting and pasting without citing the original source
- Paraphrasing incorrectly
- Using media files, such as image, audio or video files without citing them
How will you know if something is common knowledge? Consider:
- Can it be found in many different places?
- Is it widely known by a lot of different people?
Use your common sense — when in doubt, ask!
Tips to Avoid Plagiarism
- Use the decision trees over on the right to determine what and when to cite.
- Familiarize yourself with the distinctions between quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing, and how to use each. The Purdue OWL tutorial also includes a sample essay that uses all three.
- Keep track of what you are quoting and paraphrasing from your sources. Cite these sources as you write your rough draft to reduce confusion as you go.
- PC Magazine has a list of free notetaking and outliner apps (I'm a big fan of Evernote).
- Use a style guide to cite your sources. For this class, it would be ACS (American Chemical Society).
- There are also tools to help you manage your references, including free ones like Zotero and Mendeley. The Library has a subscription to Refworks. These allow you to insert and format references within your paper as well as create bibliographies.
- When in doubt, cite it. Common knowledge doesn't have to be cited, but you need to know what is considered common.