Citing Sources: Credit Where Credit Is Due

So while a very few students will plagiarize outright, regardless of dire warnings against it, many more students will be concerned about unintentionally plagiarizing, especially when they have to include research material in their writing. Your best friend in these cases is correct citation, whether it is Modern Language Association (MLA), American Psychological Association (APA), or some other citation system. The purpose of such a system is to make it possible for scholars at all levels to reference the work of others in their writing without seeming like they are plagiarizing.

So it is of the utmost importance that you know what citation system you are supposed to be using (since that may differ across different classes you are taking), and that you know the basics of how to cite material "in-text" (literally, in the text of your own writing) and in some kind of research sources list, like a Works Cited page or a Bibliography.

Knowing citation basics allows you to point out in a clear and transparent manner to your reader that yes, you are using the words of someone else, but you are not trying to pretend that it is your work.

In addition to many print resources that provide guidelines on correct citation, check your public library or school library Web page. Most provide ample resources for students when it comes to citing sources correctly. You can also consult the color-coded MLA citation guidelines on or