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A technique for properly attributing information to the appropriate author or source.

Citation style:

A prescribed set of stylistic and formatting conventions for citing sources in a consistent manner within a given discipline. 

Intellectual property:

Refers to property created through the use of the mind (i.e. intellect), encompassing a wide variety of original creations, including manuscripts, recordings, artwork, inventions, an designs.

Intentional plagiarism:

Deliberate stealing of another's ideas or representing such as your own.


A means of incorporating text into your paper using roughly the same amount of words as the original but restating the information without quoting it.


Inadvertent or purposeful stealing of intellectual property by failing to properly acknowledge the owner.


A means of incorporating text into your paper using the exact wording and formatting of the original.


A means of incorporating text into your paper by condensing original source materials to present main ideas in a narrower, more focused way.

Unintentional plagiarism:

A type of plagiarism committed accidentally and resulting from such factors as a lack of knowledge of proper source use, a misunderstanding of the rules of citation, or careless note taking. 


McAdoo M. L. (2015). The student's survival guide to research. Neal-Schuman.

Citation Tools

These tools are useful, but aren't always completely accurate. Make sure to check the citations they create against the correct format for the type of source you're using.

Why Cite Your Sources?

citations everyone needs themIn all types of research and scholarly writing, it is important to cite your sources in order to:

1. Help readers identify and locate the source you used.

Readers may want to locate the source you have cited, to verify the information or to learn more about the topic. A proper citation includes all of the information for readers to locate the source.

2. Provide evidence that your position is well-researched.

Scholarly writing is grounded in research. Citations strengthen your argument by demonstrating that your position is thoroughly researched.

3. Give credit to the author of ideas which are not your own, and thereby avoid plagiarism.

Giving proper credit to those whose ideas, words, and thoughts you use is not only respectful to those authors, but also helps you avoid plagiarism. 


Citations from Databases

Nearly all of the UCC Library databases will provide you with instant citations in MLA and APA format for articles, books, and videos. This can be quite helpful, but oftentimes they are incorrect. Always be sure to review them for accuracy instead of assuming they are correct.

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Except where otherwise noted, content in these research guides is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Creative Commons Attribution License