en English

Say no to plagiarism: Citing your sources

Plagiarism is the act of taking another person's words or ideas without giving the original author full credit.

Plagiarism is the act of taking another person’s words or ideas without giving the original author full credit. Plagiarism can occur accidently, via carelessness or forgetfulness, or it can happen when someone intentionally steals another person’s work. When writing an academic paper, you build on the work of others and draw information and support from a variety of reliable sources. You must accurately cite these sources in your writing to prevent plagiarism.

Avoiding plagiarism is possible by

  • Recording the sources you use for your study
  • Citing or paraphrasing your sources (and adding your own ideas)
  • citing the original author in your reference list and in an in-text citation
  • use a plagiarism detector net before submitting

How can you prevent plagiarism?

  • By “documenting” or “citing” your sources, you may give the originator of the content credit (terms which mean you credit your source).
  • Every time you utilize a direct quote, credit the author by putting it in quotation marks.
  • When you paraphrase (say or write in a new way) a concept, idea, or words in your research paper, provide due credit. At the conclusion, include the source in the bibliography.
  • In a research article, acknowledge sources via footnotes or parenthetical comments.
  • In the bibliography at the conclusion of your research paper, give references.


  • citing a source and expressing another person’s beliefs, ideas, or research
  • Using a picture or media file that wasn’t made by you

What justifies citing my sources?

  • to demonstrate to your readers your research efforts.
  • to acknowledge others for work they have completed.
  • to direct your readers to information that could be of benefit to them.
  • must provide your readers the opportunity to verify your sources if they have any doubts.

Other academics can follow your lead by citing your sources. Future generations of scientists, engineers, and leaders will look to MIT research for solutions to some of the biggest issues facing humanity. Citations aid in sustaining that process.

What do I need to cite?

Print sources include books, journal articles, newspapers, and other printed materials.

  • online resources
  • Articles gathered from databases like Lexis-Nexis and ProQuest Websites belonging to individuals and organizations
  • websites of institutions and the government
  • Blogs
  • Social media platforms like Tweets

Cite sources when you utilize them Citing your sources is the primary method of avoiding plagiarism. You are hinting that you came up with the knowledge on your own if you use a source without mentioning it. Citing your sources allows your readers to locate the original source if they want to learn more while also giving the original writers due credit.

Put quote marks where appropriate Use the actual words from the source wherever possible rather than paraphrasing or altering. Place quotation marks around the original content if you must quote it from the source.

What Does Not Require Citation?

It is not necessary to reference common knowledge. Facts that are widely known and can be accessed in a variety of sources are considered to be common knowledge.

It is not necessary to cite your own work if it hasn’t been published or submitted elsewhere. Generally speaking, you don’t need to mention something if it’s your words, your viewpoint, your photo, or your graph. However, you MUST cite it exactly as you would another author’s work if you are using material from one of your own previously published works. Additionally, as doing so would be considered a form of plagiarism, you are not permitted to submit a work that you have already turned in for one class to another.