Plagiarism occurs when you steal another person’s work or ideas and claim them as your own. Cutting and pasting from websites is stealing, even if you are changing the words. ‘Changing words’ is still theft because you are still stealing the ideas and work of another person.
That said, doing research means that you are reading and learning from other people. Make point-form notes when you find useful ideas, but remember where you found the idea.
You should immediately write down the source (or copy the webpage URL) beside the idea in your point-form notes.
As your project takes shape, you can use what you learn from other people, but you need to give credit to your sources as part of your work. We call this ‘citing your sources‘, and when you cite a source, it must be done in a certain style.
Here at RSS, we employ elements of 3 different styles for citing sources:
- MLA Style (English)
- APA Style (Science)
- Chicago Style (Socials)
Even though they share some similarities, please ask your teacher which style to use for your class projects.
Click the buttons below for more detailed information about each style, or use the chart for some of the basic differences:
|MLA Style||Chicago Style||APA Style|
|Title for Citation List:||“Works Cited”||“Bibliography”||“References”|
Useful Citation Tools:
Applications like Google Docs and Microsoft Word have built in tools for creating bibliographies.
Here is a How-To Guide for Using Microsoft Word to Create a Bibliography.
There are also online citation generators. However, these tools may be problematic for you because you are forced to create user accounts or you are subject to advertising and other invasive practices. Here is a citation builder from the North Carolina State University that seems to work well:Citation Builder: NCSU Libraries
Note: To copy the citation into your document, use the ‘Paste Special’ command and select ‘unformatted text’. This strips the citation of its online formatting and makes it easier to use in Word or Pages.
For students requiring more information, you can find information online or in the reference section of our school library. For those of you heading off to university, you should always consult your institution’s library for the specific information you need to file your report in the correct style. As an example of what you might expect from a university, here are the “Getting Started Guides” from the UBC Okanagan Library:Chicago Style: Getting Started MLA Style: Getting Started