CSUN Policy on Plagiarism
The following definition of plagiarism is excerpted from the California State University Northridge Catalog, 2016-2017.
Intentionally or knowingly representing the words, ideas or work of another as one’s own in any academic exercise. Comments:
- Direct Quotation: Every direct quotation must be identified by quotation marks, by appropriate indentation or by other means of identification and must be promptly cited in a footnote. Proper footnote style for any academic department is outlined by the “MLA Style Sheet” or K. L. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations. These and similar publications are available in the Matador Bookstore and at the reference desk of the Oviatt Library.
- Paraphrase: Prompt acknowledgment is required when material from another source is paraphrased or summarized in whole or in part in your own words. To acknowledge a paraphrase properly, one might state: “to paraphrase Locke’s comment . . .’’ and conclude with a footnote identifying the exact reference. A footnote acknowledging only a directly quoted statement does not suffice to notify the reader of any preceding or succeeding paraphrased material.
- Borrowed Facts or Information: Information obtained in one’s reading or research that is not common knowledge among students in the course must be acknowledged. Examples of common knowledge might include the names of leaders of prominent nations, basic scientific laws, etc.
Materials that contribute only to one’s general understanding of the subject may be acknowledged in the bibliography and need not be immediately footnoted. One footnote is usually sufficient to acknowledge indebtedness when a number of connected sentences in the paper draw their special information from one source. When direct quotations are used, however, quotation marks must be inserted and prompt acknowledgment is required.
This tab contains citation guidelines and examples in both APA and MLA style formats, along with links to other styles and resources on citation styles. The style you should use is usually determined by the discipline or course in which you are working. Ask your instructor what style s/he requires or recommends.
Why Cite Sources? Avoiding plagiarism is the most obvious reason; it also helps you back up your arguments with credible evidence and allows others to track down the same resources.
Before turning in your paper, check for these common citation errors:
- Is the list of sources alphabetized?
- Are titles capitalized and/or underlined as required?
- Is spacing and indenting correct?
- Is proper punctuation used?