Public Administration Library Guide and Resources: Citing Sources

What is Plagiarism?

To plagiarize means to:

  • Steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own;
  • Use (another's production) without crediting the source;
  • Commit literary theft;
  • Present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.

(Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary definition of "plagiarize," retrieved June 20, 2005)

CSUN Policy on Plagiarism

The following sections are excerpted from the California State University Northridge Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog, 2014-2015, Policies  (accessed August 26, 2014):

Cheating or plagiarism in connection with an academic Program at a CSU campus is listed in Section 41301, Title 5, California Code of Regulations as an offense for which a student may be expelled, suspended or given a less severe disciplinary sanction. 

(...)

Plagiarism: Intentionally or knowingly representing the words, ideas, or work of another as one's own in any academic exercise. Comments:

  1. 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. [See also: Citing Your Sources: Style Guides]
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Citation Formatting Tools

Formatting Citations

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?

Saving Items to E-mail, Print or Download from the Library Catalog

To save items:

  • From a multiple item results list, select the checkboxes next to the items you wish to save, then click Save Marked Records.
  • In an individual record, click Save Record.

To export items:

  1. To e-mail, print or download saved items, click the "View Saved" button.
  2. Choose an export format:
    • "Brief Display" includes publication information only.
    • "Full Display" includes location, call number, subject headings, and other descriptive information.
    • "End-Note/RefWorks" to export citations for use in EndNote Web, EndNote Desktop, or Refworks.
  3. Under "Send list to" choose an export method:
    • For e-mail: select E-mail and provide a "Mail To" address and subject line
    • For printing: select screen (you will use the browser's print function)
    • For saving as a text (.txt) file or other file format: select local disk
  4. Click Submit.