ANTH/SOCL 345 Ethnographic Methods

Help citing sources

Using and Integrating Sources in Your Writing

In university, your writing (including exams, essays, lab reports, etc.) demonstrates that you yourself have engaged in a process of learning. In the professional world, presentations of original work demonstrate your status as a scholar or expert. For that reason, in your writing you must always be clear about which words and ideas are yours, and which come from other sources.

What if I didn't mean to cheat?

Even if you do not intend to cheat, it is still possible to plagiarize accidentally if you use sources incorrectly.

It is perfectly fine to make use of the words and ideas of others (including friends, professors, written sources, etc.) as examples or evidence. However, you must make sure that any reader can distinguish your ideas and creations from the ideas and creations you have discovered in the source material of others.

How can I be sure?

The best way to learn how to integrate sources into your writing is to see how the experts do it: read works by scholars and notice how they manage to use the words and ideas of others clearly.

In your own writing, you must:

  1. In your document (paper, essay, speech, etc.), identify the presence of ideas/creations that you have taken from the source material of others, whether you directly quote, paraphrase, or summarize those ideas. Do this with words such as "according to…" or "as Dr. X said…" and in-text citations.
  2. In your reference list, provide a complete bibliographic reference for each source.

You must take both steps. Listing a source only in your reference list is not adequate. To help your reader distinguish your original ideas and content from those created by others, you must show the origin of any word or ideas not your own immediately after their use in your document with an in-text citation.

But, I did it that way before...

Expectations and standards for academic writing are not the same across the world, nor are they the same in all fields of study. Do not assume you can apply previously learned techniques. It is your responsibility to seek information and ask questions of your professors until you are sure you understand their expectations and the standards at Eastern Michigan University.

EMU Plagiarism Policy

The EMU Student Conduct Code treats plagiarism as an Academic Dishonesty violation. You may be charged and disciplined. See EMU's Code of Community Responsibility.

Learning to write with sources: Read!

Writing with sources is something is best learned by reading to get a feel for how experienced writers manage it. With attentive reading and practice, you will begin to recognize skilled use of sources. Reading in different classes and subjects will give you the opportunity to notice major disciplinary differences, such as how sources are handled in literary essays compared to scientific research papers.  Some students like to go through some classic writing samples in their discipline with a marker to notice how the authors work with sources.

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