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QEP Writing Through Revision

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the intentional or unintentional act of submitting work with another writer's idea of words without giving them credit. 

How to Avoid Plagiarism

Paraphrase: explain the writer's ideas using your own words.  A paraphrase will contain all of the same information of the original passage but it needs to be completely reworded.

Summarize: write a shortened version of an author's main ideas.  You can summarize a part of a piece of writing, a whole piece, or several pieces by one author.  You will not necessarily need page numbers, but make note of any specific page numbers and article titles you are summarizing.


Incorporating Sources

Research assignments will ask that you include several sources in your paper.  As you try to accomplish that task, it is easy for the sources  to take over the paper.  You might think, "What could I possibly add to this topic?  I am not an expert like these other researchers/scholars."

However, any assignment should have your ideas as the focal point.  Your readers want to know your stance on a topic, not just a report of other people's ideas.  You are guiding the reader along and showing them how you interpret sources and connect them to your central claim.

Proper citation format shows your reader how to find your sources.  The documentation style--i.e., the set of rules dictating how sources are cited and referenced--depends upon the purpose and context of the writing task.  In academia, the most commonly used as the syles known as "APA" (American Psychological Association), "MLA" (Modern Language Association), and "Chicago Style".  Below you will find basic practices for citing and referencing sources in these three styles. 

Incorporating Sources

APA stands for the American Psychological Association.  This formatting style is used most commonly in behavioral and social sciences, as well as business and nursing. 

It is important to remember the following when writing a paper in APA format

  •  In the sciences, the year a study was published is very important for understanding the context and significance of its findings.  You need to include the year in every single citation in APA.  That means every time you mention someone's name, you need a year.
  •  The sciences are focused on eliminating bias.  That is one way to remember that you never use a scholar's first name in APA--only last name and sometimes initials.  The reader will not know the gender of the person being cited.  Gendered pronouns (he/she) are also avoided in APA.
  •  APA is all about being accurate, concise, and direct.  Keep summaries short and to the point.  With APA you can easily "name drop" scholars within the same citation by separating with semicolons.  Example: Many studies have shown that ice cream is awesome (Roberts, 1984; Jones, 2001; King, 2006).
  •  Requires a title page with the title of paper, student name, and institution name centered on the page. 
  • Page numbers should be on the right side of the heading and paper title on the left.  The header on the title page should read "Running head:" followed by an abbreviated version of the title in all caps (on subsequent pages, the header will be the abbreviated title in all caps without the words "Running head").


Click here to access the APA Format Citation Guide, created by the Spalding University Writing Center.

MLA stands for Modern Language Association.  This is the documentation style used most commonly in the liberal arts and humanities. 

It is important to remember the following when asked to write in MLA format:

  • The liberal arts and humanities focus on the text itself rather than the year of publication.  In-text citations do not include the year of publication, but you always need the author's name and page number(s) whether you are paraphrasing, summarizing, or quoting.
  • There is less attention on bias in MLA as opposed to APA.  Use first and last name when an author/scholar is introduced and last name therearfter.  It is okay to use gendered pronouns he and she.
  • No title page is required.  The first page of the paper will contain the student's name, professor's name, class name, and date in the upper left corner and the title of the paper will be centered above the first paragraph.  Page numbers are to appear in the upper right corner.  Page 1 does not need the student's last name in the header (since it is already provided in the left heading), but every subsequent page should have teh student's last name and the page number (Miller 5).
  • When writing in MLA, you are more likely to have to quote someone indirectly because primary sources such as literary and historical texts will often be quoted in secondary sources (articles that interpret those primary texts).  When quoting indirectly, use the phrase "qtd, in" followed by the author of the secondary source.  Example (qtd. in Johnson 17). 
  • Papers should be written in Times New Roman 12 point font, double-spaced.

Click here to access the MLA Format Citation Guide, created by the Spalding University Writing Center.

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) is used by some disciplines within the humanities, such as history, art, literature, anthropology, religious studies, and philosophy.  It is sometimes referred to as the "Editor's Bible" because there are many style conventions for grammer and usage that are followed religiously by publishers and writers.  Chicago Style uses two different styles: "author-date" (similar to APA) and Notes-Bibliography (NB).  Here are some of the terms to know:

Footnotes: Numbered notes at the bottom of a page--usually only a few sentences--that further explain sources cited on that page.

Endnote: Numbered notes at the end of an article, chapter, or book that provide lengthy details and descriptions of a source.

Bibliography: an alphabetical list of full citations for works referenced within a text.  A bibliography might not be necessary if all of the source information needed is provided in the footnotes or endnotes. 

Some general guidelines you should remember when writing in CMOS:

  • Text should be consistently double-spaced, including block quotations, notes, bibliography entries, table titles, and figure captions.
  • For block quotations, which are also called extracts:
    • A prose quotation of five or more lines, or more than 100 words, should be blocked.
    • CMOS recommends blocking two or more lines of poetry.
    • A blocked quotation does not get enclosed in quotation marks.
    • A blocked quotation must always begin a new line.
    • Blocked quotations should be indented with the word processor's indention tool.
  • Page numbers begin in the header of the first page of text with Arabic number 1.
  • Subheadings should be used for longer papers.
  • CMOS recommends you devise your own format but use consistency as your guide.

Click here to access the Chicago Style Citation Guide, created by the Purdue Online Writing Lab.