How to Cite Your Sources Properly and Avoid Plagiarism

Submitted by jon on Fri, 03/02/2012 - 08:59

One of the issues many authors have is how to cite sources properly. Proper citing of sources prevents plagiarism, and establishes credibility for the author and the paper. In academic writing, papers are expected to cite sources as research builds on other research. In the non-academic world, unfortunately, plagiarism is more common.

Learning how to cite sources is easy and will set the authors work apart from the crowd of non-authoritative, plagiarized, and generally non-unique articles which are proliferating with the advent of private label rights authors.

Many ways to cite sources exist, and most publications specify which format is required. When no stated preferences are available, or the paper is for internet publication, any of the standard formats is acceptable, and using the format the author is most comfortable with is the best choice.


UNLV (2007) lists guidelines used in different disciplines, but this article will focus on four of them; (1) American Psychological Association (APA), (2) Modern Language Association (MLA), (3) Chicago Manual of Style, and (4) Turabian. All citations in this article will be in APA format except when giving examples for other guidelines. Please note the author assumes no responsibility for inaccurate information since achieving expert status on all formats is very difficult. That said, the information is believed to be accurate as of the time of this writing.

To show examples of the different citation types, a random article available on the internet was chosen. The article appears at, http://www.sagoodnews.co.za/private_sector_business/cheers_sabmiller_is_the_world_s_biggest_brewer.html.

A sample paragraph incorporating this reference is as follows (please note italics are used since there is limited formatting on this site, normal text would be used in a normal article):

South Africa: The Good News (2008) reported SABMiller surpassing InBev as the largest brewery conglomerate in the world in 2008. Based in South Africa, SABMiller's1.2 billion dollar purchase of the Dutch brewer Grolsch pushed them over the financial edge in the multi-billion dollar worldwide beer market.

American Psychological Association (APA)

 


APA is one of the most widely used formats in academic writing consisting of editorial and citation guidelines. Authors in the social sciences are often required to use this format when submitting articles for publication. Even though this article focuses on the citation portion of the guidelines, for consistency and clarity following the editorial guidelines is also recommended. The APA website (2008) also has general information on style topics such as, removing bias in language, electronic media, and authorship aids.

Here is the sample with proper APA citation (note formatting not exact due to restrictions on HubPages):

South Africa: The Good News (2008) reported SABMiller surpassing InBev as the largest brewery conglomerate in the world in 2008. Based in South Africa, SABMiller's1.2 billion dollar purchase of the Dutch brewer Grolsch pushed them over the financial edge in the multi-billion dollar worldwide beer market.

Here is how it would look in the references section:

South Africa: The Good News. (2008, February 8). Cheers! sabmiller is the world’s biggest brewer - south africa - the good news. Retrieved February 20, 2008, from http://www.sagoodnews.co.za/private_sector_business/cheers_sabmiller_is_the_world_s_biggest_brewer.html.

 

 

Modern Language Association (MLA)

MLA format is generally used in the humanities and is also one of the most widely used formats in academic writing. Like APA, MLA uses in-text citations, no footnotes, and all citations are complete (Duke University Libraries, 2007). This is very similar to how APA formats citations but some differences can cause problems when switching back and forth. MLA requires only the author’s last name and page number in internal citations. APA requires the last name, date of publication and page number. MLA requires quotations longer than 4 lines are also double indented, single spaced with no additional quotation marks. APA requires quotations of more than 40 words to double-spaced, no quotation marks and indented five spaces. Many more subtle and not so subtle differences exist, so please consult the appropriate guidelines.

Here is the sample with proper MLA citation (notice no parenthetical citation):

South Africa: The Good News reported SABMiller surpassing InBev as the largest brewery conglomerate in the world in 2008. Based in South Africa, SABMiller's1.2 billion dollar purchase of the Dutch brewer Grolsch pushed them over the financial edge in the multi-billion dollar worldwide beer market.

Here is how it would look in the sources cited section:

South Africa: The Good News. “Cheers! SABMiller is the world’s biggest brewer - South Africa - The Good News.” 8 Feb 2008. 20 Feb 2008 <http://www.sagoodnews.co.za/private_sector_business/cheers_sabmiller_is_the_world_s_biggest_brewer.html>.

 

 

Chicago Manual of Style

The Chicago Manual of Style has several versions; (1) author-date, (2) full note with bibliography, (3) note with bibliography, and (4) note without bibliography. In general if the article is about the arts, history, or the humanities use the note with bibliography format. For articles in the sciences or other social sciences use the author-date system.

Here is the sample with proper Chicago author-date citation:

South Africa: The Good News reported SABMiller (Anonymous) surpassing InBev as the largest brewery conglomerate in the world in 2008. Based in South Africa, SABMiller's1.2 billion dollar purchase of the Dutch brewer Grolsch pushed them over the financial edge in the multi-billion dollar worldwide beer market.

Here is how it would look in the references section:

Cheers! SABMiller is the world's biggest brewer - South africa - the good news. [cited 2/23/2008 2008]. Available from http://www.sagoodnews.co.za/private_sector_business/cheers_sabmiller_is_the_world_s_biggest_brewer.html (accessed 2/23/2008).

And the same example with Chicago notes and bibliography citation:

South Africa: The Good News1 reported SABMiller surpassing InBev as the largest brewery conglomerate in the world in 2008. Based in South Africa, SABMiller's1.2 billion dollar purchase of the Dutch brewer Grolsch pushed them over the financial edge in the multi-billion dollar worldwide beer market.

Notes and bibliograph style requires a footnote or endnote. The note can be full or abbreviated. The note without bibliography is less common and will not be discussed.

The note section would look like:

1. South Africa: The Good News, "Cheers! SABMiller is the world's Biggest Brewer - South Africa - the Good News."

Here is how it would look in the Bibliography section:

"Cheers! SABMiller is the world's Biggest Brewer - South Africa - the Good News." http://www.sagoodnews.co.za/private_sector_business/cheers_sabmiller_is_the_world_s_biggest_brewer.html (accessed 2/23/2008, 2008).

 

 

Turabian

Turabian is a format developed by Kate Turabian and is very similar to Chicago style. Turabian style is simpler than Chicago and meant to be used by undergraduates (Duke University Libraries, 2007). This makes Turabian easier for non-academics to master as well and can be used in any discipline. Parenthetical references are now the preferred method of citation and will be used in the example below.

Here is the sample with proper Turabian citation:

South Africa: The Good News(South Africa : The Good News ) reported SABMiller surpassing InBev as the largest brewery conglomerate in the world in 2008. Based in South Africa, SABMiller's1.2 billion dollar purchase of the Dutch brewer Grolsch pushed them over the financial edge in the multi-billion dollar worldwide beer market.

Here is how it would look in the references section:

 

 

 

South Africa : The Good News. Cheers! SABMiller is the world's biggest brewer - south africa - the good news.Internet on-line. Available from . [2/23/2008, 2008].

Conclusion

If no specific format is called for an author can simply use any of major guidelines. If in doubt about which format to use, follow the guidelines created for the subject matter being presented. The important thing is making sure all references are cited correctly and accurately. Using online tools makes the tedious work of attribution more consistent and professional.

References

APA Style.org. (2008). Style tips | apa style. Retrieved Feb 23, 2008, from http://www.apastyle.org/styletips.html.


Duke University Libraries. (2007, August 1). MLA manual of style. Retrieved February 23, 2008, from http://library.duke.edu/research/plagiarism/cite/mla.html.

Duke University Libraries. (2007, August 1). Turabian style guide. Retrieved February 24, 2008, from http://library.duke.edu/research/plagiarism/cite/turabian.html.

Ipri, T. (2007, August 28). UNLV libraries bibliographies and works cited pages. Retrieved February 23, 2008, from http://library.unlv.edu/help/style.html.

South Africa: The Good News. (2008, February 8). Cheers! sabmiller is the world's biggest brewer - south africa - the good news. Retrieved February 20, 2008, from http://www.sagoodnews.co.za/private_sector_business/cheers_sabmiller_is_the_world_s_biggest_brewer.html.