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How do I cite a source?

To cite a source properly, you need to follow the rules of a particular citation style.

University College utilizes the Turabian Author-Date citation style to document sources utilized in all written assignments.

Why do I need to cite my sources?

Citing your sources is:

  • the smart thing to do: readers will consider your work more credible if they know where your information comes from.
  • the honest thing to do: it prevents plagiarism by giving credit to the original author of an idea.

Imagine research as a conversation -- scholars are trading ideas back and forth and building on the findings of earlier work. Citing your sources is an important part of contributing to this conversation -- it allows readers to understand how your work fits into the overall conversation.

Citing your sources in a standard style also helps readers tell at a glance what type of source you used (book vs. journal article, etc), and it helps readers find and reference the sources you used.

When should I cite a source?

What is Plagiarism?

The DU Honor Code defines plagiarism as "including any representation of another's work or ideas as one's own in academic and educational submissions."

At DU, plagiarism is seen as a form of academic misconduct and can result in severe consequences. These explanations of the most common types of plagiarism from Bowdoin College can help you learn to detect plagiarism in your own and other's work.

To avoid plagiarism, cite sources when:

  • You directly quote a source
  • You paraphrase a source
  • You summarize someone else's ideas in your own words
  • You draw on facts, information, or data from someone else
  • You want to add supplemental information not included in your paper, such as footnotes or endnotes

Note: You do not need to cite generally accepted knowledge. For more information, see Not-So-Common Knowledge.

A general rule of thumb is: "When in doubt, cite it."

What is Plagiarism Detection Software?

DU uses a plagiarism detection software called TurnItIn. When a student turns in a paper through Canvas, TurnItIn checks the internet and many databases to see if anything has been copied from another person’s work.

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Elia Trucks
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2150 E. Evans Ave.
Denver, CO 80208