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Citations & Avoiding Plagiarism

How to cite sources using MLA, APA or Chicago. Also has resources for understanding and avoiding plagiarism.

Why Cite?

Why do you cite?


Shows your work. 

  • Your readers can track down the same sources you used for further exploration.
  • Your instructors see that you have met their research requirements.

Give credit where credit is due. 

  • It shows that you are an ethical user of information and acknowledges the work of others.
  • This means not just text, but also images or other creative forms of information.

Avoid plagiarism.  

  • Plagiarism is stealing and passing off the ideas or words of another person's as your own.  


Why are citations so specific?

Consistency makes it easier for readers to understand where you found your research.

Think of it like addressing an envelope.  Everyone follows the same format when addressing an envelope because it makes it easier for people to deliver it properly.


Identifies the exact source in the specific format you (the researcher) saw it.

Sources can change slightly (or dramatically) anytime it is republished. Readers want to know exactly which version the writer used. 

Plagiarism Tutorial & Certification Test (Indiana U)

Plagiarism Tutorials

An animated interactive tutorial; Click on the picture to begin.

Your best defense against plagiarism - constant vigilance and a good handbook like Little Seagull