NC State students are expected to adhere to a code of academic integrity, including properly citing sources in academic writing.  You may consult the Code of Student Conduct, for rules and guidelines concerning the university’s academic integrity policies.

This page will clarify the role of citation in academic writing, define plagiarism, and suggest a few tips to help you avoid plagiarism.

What is Citation?

Citation is the practice of identifying sources that you have quoted, paraphrased, or summarized in your writing.  

There are many citation styles, and some disciplines prefer one over another.  While they vary in format, they all provide the information needed for other researchers to locate that resource themselves. Citations usually include such information as: author, title of the text, title of publication, date of publication and other details that make a resource identifiable.

Proper citation includes two components:  

  1. an in-text or parenthetical citation, next to the quoted or summarized material that will direct your reader to the full citation
  2. a full citation at the end of your paper on a works cited or bibliography page

Why is Citation Important?

Citation is important for reasons beyond avoiding plagiarism.  It enables students and researchers to become active participants in the academic community and leads them to resources that may be of interest to them or their research.

Good research functions as a part of a network and introduces new information, connects existing knowledge, or provides a new understanding of established ideas in the academic community.  Citing sources can instill authority in your writing because  it shows that your research has been informed by the work of recognized scholars.  You can watch a video for more information about how citation works here.

Understanding Plagiarism

Plagiarism is presenting someone else's work as your own or without proper citation.  This includes words, ideas, data, or images, especially those that are not considered to be general knowledge.

Avoiding Plagiarism

  • Use quotation marks around words taken directly from a text and also acknowledge the source and author.
  • If you are using your own words to summarize ideas or arguments that are not original to you, be sure to acknowledge the source or author.
  • Use the correct style guide to make sure you are including the necessary information in your citations.  You may view style guide resources here.