Writing an academic paper can be a daunting task for many students. The task becomes more difficult if you are unfamiliar with how to properly cite and reference sources. In trying to dispel the myths about citations below, the Academic Learning Centre has created this detailed explanation of why they are incorrect.
Myth 1: If you rewrite information in your own words you don't need to cite.
Whether you copy the writer’s text or rewrite it in your own words, you must cite. Academic writing requires that all information, other than personally lived experience, be cited and referenced.
Myth 2: All citations are at the end of a paragraph.
No! Citations are found throughout a paragraph, even if the information is just from one source. It must be clear to the reader who is the source of the information, otherwise they’ll assume that the information/data/research is yours. Citations are typically found mid-sentence, at the end of the sentence, as well as at the end of paragraph.
Myth 3: Changing a few words in a source is a paraphrase.
Paraphrases should be all your words. You are expected to clearly communicate the ideas, data and processes but not use the author’s structure, phrases. There are a number of excellent sources that can show you how to paraphrase. A paraphrase should communicate how available research supports your research/thesis.
Myth 4: Copying only a few words in a sentence is not plagiarism.
Patchwork paraphrasing is a form of plagiarism. You need to use other words and change the grammar of the text you are paraphrasing. If you copy a few words from a writer and include them in your sentence you must enclose those words in quotations, cite, and provide a page number.
Myth 5: I can submit my own work more than once.
Submitting your work more than once is called “duplicate submission” and is a form of plagiarism. If you have written on a similar topic in another course, approach your instructor and ask if you can revise or use portions of the previous paper.
Myth 6: You don’t need to cite class notes, YouTube, Tumblr, Twitter etc.
You need to cite all information that you have acquired from an outside source. A reader needs to know your sources of information. Information on the internet “belongs” to the creators of that content, and their authorship needs to be acknowledged.
Myth 7: Only direct quotes need citations.
All information acquired from an outside source needs to be referenced. You need to add an in-text citation for each paraphrases, quote, summary or synthesis of ideas. If the information comes from personal communication, ie. Email, phone conversations, in class group discussions, you don’t need to add a reference citation but you do need to add an in–text citation.
Myth 8: I don’t need to put a citation because I’ve included the source in my references.
If there is no in-text citation associated with information included you have plagiarized. The reverse is also true, a citation with no reference is also considered plagiarism. You need to include both an in-text citation and a reference for each source you have used.
Myth 9: Plagiarism is harmless.
Plagiarism can be harmful to your academic career. Getting an F on the assignment or as a final mark in the course or expulsion from university are very common consequences. Plagiarism is harmful to others. Words and/or ideas used without acknowledgement is sometimes referred to as “stealing” because you are taking credit for others hard work and innovation. Furthermore, plagiarism is harmful to the University because it damages its reputation. Academic Integrity is very important in an academic context.