Citation Practices

When writing analytically you will often draw upon the ideas and arguments of others to develop your own analysis. It’s important to distinguish your own ideas from the ideas of others. A mistake some students make is to assume that there is one correct or optimal answer to an essay question and that the sequence of words for a correct answer cannot be “owned” by anyone. To the contrary, writing in your own words is part of thoroughly absorbing ideas and transforming them into your tools of analysis. On ethical grounds proper citation practices mean giving credit to those who’ve come up with the ideas and arguments you are borrowing from.

Avoiding inadvertent plagiarism starts with good note-taking practices.  Make sure to keep notes on sources.  When you write down (or copy and paste) something word-for-word from a reading into your own note-taking files, put it in double quotes (“”) and note the source and page number.  This will make for easier work later on when you draw from your notes while writing up your assignments.

Citing involves two components:

1)    in-text citation – where you indicate the source of an idea or quote in the body of your essay

2)    list of references – at the end of your document, where you list the full details for any source that you’ve

In-text Citations:

In-text citations should look like this (AUTHOR year).  An in-text citation is placed at the end of the sentence…so for example, Women’s uses of the telephone in the early 20th century went against the intentions of designers (Fischer 1992).

For multiple citations separate with semicolons and where there are two authors list both authors last names.  For three or more authors, list the first authors last name and follow with ‘et al.’ e.g. (Burrell 2010; Oreglia and Geiger 2009; Srinivasan et al. 2000)

When quoting a source also include the page number (AUTHOR year: pg#), e.g. (Burrell 2010: 54).

Be very sure to put word-for-word references to texts in double quotes (“”) and include an in-text citation with page number. Please note that extensive paraphrasing where you change a few words in a sentence or paragraph from a published source but leave it essentially the same is not acceptable.  Furthermore wholesale borrowing of the larger structure, argument, and evidence of a published piece is also plagiarism.

List of References:

A reference to each cited text should be placed in the references section at the end of your written piece.  The references should include the names of all authors, the title of the cited piece, year of publication, volume and issue numbers (for periodicals), page numbers (for periodicals and book chapters in edited books), publisher name and city (for books).  APA or MLA format are widespread standards that you can easily find online.

See the library source page on this:

If you are citing online resources, here are some guidelines on how to do so: If there are pieces of information that are missing (for example, a clear author), you should at the very least have the title of the page, the url, and the date when you visited it.

A Final Word on Plagiarism.

Some cases of plagiarism stem from a poor understanding of how and when to cite sources.  The above should clarify expectations and best practices. In addition, we expect all students to abide by the Berkeley Student Code of Conduct (see  Cases of plagiarism will not be tolerated.  The consequences include failing the assignment, a referral to the Center for Student Conduct and Community Standards, and possibly a failed grade in the course.  Plagiarism includes (as noted above) copying material from a book or article (word-for-word or paraphrased) without citing the source as well as extensively summarizing the written work of someone else without clarifying that the ideas and analysis are not your own.  Other examples of unacceptable conduct: turning in as your own work a paper written by another student who has previously taken this course, a paper you found on the Internet, or a paper you paid a commercial term-paper service to write for you.  Note: if you are feeling stress about workload and deadlines rather than resort to such desperate measures please come visit one of us in office hours to work out a plan of action for completing course requirements.

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