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Citing Your Sources

Avoiding Plagiarism

When should I cite?

If an idea wasn't yours, you should cite it in-text.  This includes:

  • Direct quotations
  • Paraphrasing (putting someone else's ideas into your own words)
  • Using an idea that someone else gave you in a conversation, email, class, etc.
  • Describing an idea that influenced your work
  • Expert opinion or lending authority to your own opinion
  • Giving any information that isn't common knowledge
  • Using any or all of a previously created work of your own design (yes: self-plagiarism is a real thing)

What is Paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing is taking someone else's idea or statement and putting it into your own words.  It is still considered plagiarism if you paraphrase without an in-text citation.

For example:

Hello, My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father.  Prepare to die.

Correctly Paraphrased:

Montoya greets, informs his foe of the reason for his anger, and immediately issues a threat (Lear & Reiner, 1987). 

*note that Lear and Reiner are the producer and director of the film The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride - Hello my name is Inigo Montoya Face T-shirt [image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Last Updated: May 28, 2024 11:56 AM

Avoiding Plagiarism Video

Remember, you can be charged with plagiarism if you:

  • Copy, quote, paraphrase or summarize any source without adequate documentation.
  • Purchase a paper by mail or email.
  • Allow another person to write a paper for you.
  • Submit another person's unpublished work in your name.

from Duke University's Avoiding Plagiarism webpage