Write & Cite

Crediting & Citing Sources


Plagiarism occurs when you present someone else's work as if it is your own without giving them credit. To avoid plagiarism, you must put quotation marks around the text you've used, or paraphrase (summarize) the content, and indicate the original source. You must also create a list of sources used at the end of your assignment. This list is often called a Bibliography, References or Works Cited list.

In addition to quoting or paraphrasing text, you must cite statistics, pictures, graphics, images, tables, graphs, music, sounds, diagrams, or photos in your assignments. Anything that you didn't create on your own but are using in your report, essay or assignment must be cited.

Information in electronic format is particularly easy to copy and paste. People often think that information available on the internet is freely available and doesn't have to be cited or referenced. That's not true.

Plagiarism is cheating. It is a serious academic offence, even if it is unintentional.

Accidental plagiarism can include: 

  • Using a substantive or unique portion of the original text when paraphrasing.
  • Building on someone else's ideas without crediting the original creator of the idea.
  • Copying from another source without providing a citation.

Deliberate plagiarism can include:

  • Buying, stealing, copying, or borrowing a paper and submitting it as your own work.
  • Submitting a paper you previously submitted in another course.
  • Copying from a source without providing a citation.
  • Copying and pasting information from a website and then claiming it as your own writing.

Follow these steps to avoid plagiarism and use information ethically and legally:

  • Take good notes and/or email or save the articles or information sources you've consulted.
  • Cite everything that is not common knowledge (when in doubt, cite).
  • Paraphrase and give credit.
  • Understand how to cite using the required citation style (Eg: MLA, APA, CSE).
  • Learn how to use an online citation generator like KnightCite or a citation manager like RefWorks.
  • Check with your instructor or librarian if you think you may not be citing correctly.

Check these resources for more information about avoiding plagiarism:

Plagiarism Rap (Cite Your Sources)

What is Plagiarism?

Avoiding Plagiarism


Quoting & Paraphrasing

Quoting and paraphrasing are important skills to have when working on assignments, reports, or essays.

Quote an author’s words or ideas by putting quotation marks around the text then provide a citation for the source of the original words or idea. If you quote fewer than five lines from a source, blend them into your text with quotation marks around the words. Or, if you have a long quote in your essay or technical report, set it apart from the rest of the text in a right/left indented block – then quotation marks aren’t needed.

Check these resources for more information about quoting:

Citing Direct Quotations

Quotation Marks

Using Direct Quotes Selectively

Paraphrasing is when you restate an idea or concept entirely in your own words. Paraphrasing changes the sentence structure of the original text. No quotation marks are necessary, but a citation must be provided for the source of the original idea.

Check these resources for more information about paraphrasing:

Paraphrase: Write it in Your Own Words

Paraphrasing Tutorial

How to Paraphrase a Source


In-Text Citations

In-text citations, also called parenthetical citations, are brief references in the body of an essay, report or paper that include only the information that’s essential to guide the reader to the corresponding complete source of the work in the Works Cited or References list provided at the end of the paper or report.

In-text citations give only an abbreviated reference within the text of the written document, and generally only provide the author’s last name followed by a page number. There are, however, different in-text citation formats for different citation styles.

Check these resources for more information about in-text citations:

APA Formatting and Style Guide: In-Text Citations – the Basics

MLA Formatting and Style Guide: In-Text Citations - the Basics


Citation Styles

A citation style is a standardized system for crediting or documenting sources you've consulted and used for your research. Each citation style is unique, and your program will require you to use a specific format.

Citation styles are often created by professional organizations or publishers such as the: 

At NAIT, the JR Shaw School of Business requires students to use the APA citation style, while other programs require MLA or CSE. Check with your instructor if you're unsure about which citation style is required for your assignment.



Print Manual:   Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association   808.027 P976 2010

Online Help:

APA Style Guidelines & Examples - NAIT Library  (PDF)

APA Style Guidelines & Examples With Colour - NAIT Library (PDF that uses colour to demonstrate the relationship between in-text citations and reference list citations)

APA Style Guide to Electronic Reference (Official APA guide specifically for online resources)

APA Style Blog  (Official blog for APA. Use the search function for specific questions.)

APA Formatting and Style Guide (Purdue Owl Online Writing Lab)

Getting Started with APA Citation Style (University of British Columbia)

APA Style Guidelines (Research & Documentation Online Handbook)

Referencing Tool (Griffith University)
Includes in-text citations.

Basics of APA Style Tutorial  (American Psychological Association)



MLA Style Guidelines & Examples - NAIT Library (PDF)

Print Manual:    MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers   808.027 M685 2009

Online Help

MLA Style Guidelines (Research & Documentation Online Handbook).

 MLA Citation Examples (University of Maryland University College)
Includes in-text citations.

MLA Documentation Style for "Works Cited" (LaGuardia Community College)
Includes in-text citations.

Referencing Tool (Griffith University)
Includes in-text citations.

In-Text Citations:

MLA Formatting and Style Guide: In-Text Citations - the Basics



Print Manual:  A Guide to Writing as an Engineer by David Beer & David McMurrey  808.0666 B415 2009

Online Help:

Official IEEE Citation Reference (PDF)
7 page PDF put out by the IEEE organization, which describes citation standards for a variety of different resources.

Reference Guide: IEEE Style (University of Chicago) (PDF)
4 page PDF that describes in-text and reference list entries, with examples.

IEEE Referencing Guide (McQuade Library, Merrimack College in North Andover, MA)
This library guide demonstrates how to format reference list entries. Also includes links to other helpful resources.

IEEE Style Guide (Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia)
This library guide demonstrates how to format in-text citations, reference list entries and provides a sample reference list.

IEEE Citation Style Guide (Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia) (PDF)
8 page PDF that describes how to format in-text and reference list entries, with examples. Also includes links to other helpful resources.



NAIT-Specific Examples:   CSE (PDF)

Print Manual:   Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers   808.027 S416 2006

Online Help:

CSE Reference List (Diana Hacker)
Also includes in-text citations and sample papers.

CSE Style Guidelines (Research & Documentation Online Handbook)



NAIT-Specific Examples: Vancouver (PDF)

Online Help:

Referencing Tool (Griffith University)
Includes in-text citations.

Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers (National Library of Medicine)

International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Sample References (National Library of Medicine)

References/Bibliography Vancouver Style - "How-to" Guide  (PDF) (University of Queensland)
Includes in-text citations.


Printer-Friendly Handouts


Library Search Tool

Ask Us