When you use other authors' ideas and words in your own writing, it is important to credit or cite them - even if you do not quote their words exactly as written - in accordance with a given citation style (See the box on Citation Styles on the upper right).
Citing your sources allows your reader to identify the works you have consulted and to understand the breadth and scope of your research. Footnotes, endnotes, and lists of works consulted provide substantiation for your own findings and ideas.
Practicing "cite as you write" and keeping track of ideas and quotations that you use in your own writing helps you to avoid plagiarism or charges of research misconduct.
Quotation and Paraphrasing
When you reproduce an author's exact wording and phrasing, you must place the text within quotation marks or set off the text in block quotes or other formats recommended in various style manuals.
Even if you re-word the material in your own terms, a practice called "paraphrasing," you must credit the source of the information.
You can find guidelines for quotation practice in many style manuals or guides for researchers. A useful introduction can be found in chapter 12 of The Modern Researcher by Jacques Barzun and Henry Graff (5th ed., 1992 in REF LB 2369 .B28).
Plagiarism is defined in the University of Arkansas Catalog of Studies as "offering as one’s own work the words, ideas, or arguments of another person without appropriate attribution by quotation, reference or footnote" (section on "Academic Regulations: Academic Honesty").
The consequences of plagiarizing another's work can be very serious for one's course grade or for one's entire academic career. Plagiarism and academic dishonesty go beyond simply cutting and pasting text from an article or book into your paper without attribution; they can include paraphrasing without attribution or even citing sources without including them in your bibliography.
Citing your sources is the first step to avoiding plagiarism. You might also review our Plagiarism Research Guide for more information.
There are hundreds of citation styles. Your instructor, department, college, or editor may recommend that you use a particular style—or they may ask that you simply be consistent. Four of the most commonly used citation styles in academic writing are listed below. In addition, citation style manuals are available in the library catalog. Common subject headings used for style manuals include "Authorship--Style Manuals" or "Authorship--Handbooks."