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Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

This guide is intended to help you organize and write a quality research paper for classes taught in the social sciences.


According to Spalding University Student Handbook, plagiarism is the verbatim repetition, without acknowledgement, of the writings of another author. All significant phrases, clauses, or passages, taken directly from source material must be enclosed in quotation marks and acknowledged either in the text itself or in footnotes/endnotes. Borrowing without acknowledging the source. Paraphrasing the thoughts of another writer without acknowledgement. Allowing any other person or organization to prepare work which one then submits as one’s own. The University Catalog, as well as Volume VI (Academic Policies), govern all issues related to academic integrity.

Avoiding Allegations of Plagiarism

Credit must be given when using one of the following in your own research paper:

  • Another person's idea, opinion, or theory;
  • Any facts, statistics, graphs, drawings, or other non-textual elements used or that you adapted from another source;
  • Any pieces of information that are not common knowledge;
  • Quotations of another person's actual spoken or written words; or
  • Paraphrase of another person's spoken or written words.

If you have any doubts about whether to cite a particular source concerning an argument or statement made in your paper, protect yourself by citing a source or sources that support your position. Note that not citing a source not only raises concerns about the integrity of your paper, but it also tells the reader that you have not conducted an effective or thorough review of the literature in support of the research problem under investigation.

Academic Integrity. The Writing Center. University of Kansas; Avoiding Plagiarism. Academic Skills Program, University of Canberra; How and When to Cite Other People's Work. Psychology Writing Center, University of Washington; Proctor, Margaret. "How Not to Plagiarize." University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Plagiarism. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Plagiarism. The Writing Center. Department of English, George Mason University. Avoiding Plagiarism. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University.