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Online Guide to Writing and Research

Academic Integrity and Documentation

Giving Credit to Sources

Giving Credit to Sources

Giving credit to sources is one way in which you practice Academic Integrity. It is important and necessary to give credit to any material you use in the writing of your paper, even if it is familiar to you or if you put it in your own words. When you do not correctly and appropriately document the sources you use in the writing of your paper, you could be committing plagiarism, which is considered academic misconduct (source: V.8). Worse, you undermine your own learning path when you stray from academic integrity.

Starting Tips for Writers:

  • Learn the three ways to use others’ ideas in your paper: quotingparaphrasing, and summarizing

  • A good practice is to acknowledge all sources from which you borrow. There are only two exceptions. You need not cite sources for 

common knowledge, such as “Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth while attending a performance at Ford’s Theatre,” or “The sum of the angles of any triangle equals 180 degrees” 

familiar proverbs or aphorisms, such as “A stitch in time saves nine,” “Art imitates life,” or “Feed a cold; starve a fever”  

  • An effective rule to follow is this: If you are in doubt about whether to cite your source, cite it. It is better to err on the side of caution than to leave out the appropriate documentation and risk committing an academic integrity violation.

Key Takeaway

Academic integrity means, among other practices, giving credit to all borrowed material used in your paper.

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