Citing Sources to Responsibly Use Information

1. Introduction to Plagiarism

Concepts and Definition

  • To avoid plagiarism, it is important to learn to cite the sources you use in your research. According to, plagiarism is the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work.
  • Source: "plagiarism." Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 15 Apr. 2009.


  • CCSF Policy from “Rules of Student Conduct” : "Plagiarism is defined as the unauthorized use of the language and thought of another author and representing them as your own". Plagiarism is a violation of the rules of student conduct, and discipline may include, but is not limited to, "a failing grade in an assignment, test, or class in proven cases of cheating or plagiarism or other academic dishonesty".


2.  Incorporating Information and Ideas from Other Sources

  • Paraphrasing is expressing another person's work in your own words, while still giving credit to the other person's original work. It requires changing more than a few words.
  • Quoting means providing another person's words exactly as they are expressed, with no changes or omissions, and clearly stating the source of the words.
  • Summarizing is using your own words to explain another author's main idea(s) in much briefer form than the original work. It is similar to paraphrasing, but paraphrasing generally restates a short section of a work, while summarizing condenses longer material. Again, credit must be given to the original source of information.

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3. Citing Sources to Avoid Plagiarism 

4. Being Organized and Saving Time: Methods for keeping track of your information

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  • Why is it important to have a system for keeping track of information, quotations, facts etc. from your sources?
  • What are some methods for doing this? 
  • Many databases provide you with formatted citations to help you keep track of your work.
  • There are also programs on the Web that will help you with formatting. What are some of the pros and cons of using Web-based citation generators for your “Works Cited” page?

5.  Resources and Tips for More Help