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Academic Integrity: Documentation

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Quotation of Sources

(North Carolina State University Libraries, n.d.)

Permission to use this video was granted by North Carolina State University Libraries.

A direct quotation is defined as, "reproduc[ing] word for word material directly quoted from another author's work" (American Psychological Association, 2010, p. 170). A direct quote is the exact words of the original author without any changes to the text unless specified (American Psychological Association, 2010).

The following guidelines may help further your understanding of when to provide an in text citation:

  • Cite direct quotations that you copy from another source
  • Cite statistics and data
  • Cite pictures, illustrations and other multimedia
  • Cite resources located in the public domain
  • Cite online sources including websites, articles, blogs, listservs, discussion boards, etc

An indirect quotation (paraphrase) is when you express an idea or concept from another author’s work in your own words. Using an indirect quote involves taking information from the original source and paraphrasing or putting it into your own words. When you paraphrase, you must also credit the original source (American Psychological Association, 2010).

The following guidelines may help you when citing indirect (paraphrase) quotations.

  • Cite all indirect or paraphrased quotes
  • Cite ideas or concepts from another author that are not your own original ideas

Common knowledge refers to information you can reasonably expect the general public to know such as widespread facts, dates or historical events.

Common knowledge does not need to be cited; however, a good practice is to speak with your instructor when you are unsure if information is common knowledge.

Examples of Common Knowledge:

  • A year has 365 days
  • Canada has 10 provinces and 3 territories
  • Stephen Harper is the Prime Minister of Canada
  • Canada uses the dollar as its currency

The following are some practices that may assist you in your research experience:

  • Practice effective note-taking
  • Keep a working bibliography to collect relevant citation information
  • Paraphrase ideas into your own words; indirect quotations require an in text citation and a complete reference
  • Refer to the text to make sure you have not unintentionally copied information
  • Use your own voice to put a new twist on old information
  • When in doubt, provide full and complete references
  • Do not rush through an assignment or paper; remember that research, writing, and citing take time

For more information on effective research practices, please visit Library Services Research Guide

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Style Guides & Citation Tools

NSCC Library Services provides the following style guides:

APA    American Psychological Association, Publication Manual, 6th ed.

MLA    Modern Language Association, Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed.

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