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Research Process: Step 7: Citing and Keeping Track of Sources

How to write a paper at the Davis Library and University of Rio Grande & Rio Grande Community College

Keep track of Useful Sources as You Find Them

  • Email citations to yourself or print articles as you find them.
  • Write down information about your sources as you find them. Include the article title, the author, and information about the journal: title, year of publication, and volume/issue numbers.

Tips for Taking Notes Electronically

  • Keep a separate Work Cited file of the sources you use.
    • As you add sources, put them inthe style your professor requests that you use such as APA or  MLA format.
    • Group sources by publication type (i.e., book, article, website).
    • Number source within the publication type group.
    • For websites, include the URL information.
  • Next to each idea, include the source number from the Work Cited file and the page number from the source. See the examples below. Note #A5 and #B2 refer to article source 5 and book source 2 from the Work Cited file.

#A5 p.35: 76.69% of the hyperlinks selected from homepage are for articles and the catalog
#B2 p.76: online library guides evolved from the paper pathfinders of the 1960's

  • When done taking notes, assign keywords or sub-topic headings to each idea, quote or summary.
  • Use the copy and paste feature to group keywords or sub-topic ideas together.
  • Back up your master list and note files frequently.

Tips for Taking Notes by Hand

  • Use index cards to keep notes and track sources used in your paper.
  • Create Work Cited cards for each source.
    • Include the citation (i.e., author, title, publisher, date, page numbers, etc.) in MLA format. It will be easier to organize the sources alphabetically when creating the Work Cited page.
    • Number the source cards.
  • On each note card:
    • Use only one side to record a single idea, fact or quote from one source. It will be easier to rearrange them later when it comes time to organize your paper.
    • Include a heading or key words at the top of the card. 
    • Include the Work Cited source card number.
    • Include the page number where you found the information.
  • Taking notes:
    • Use abbreviations, acronyms, or incomplete sentences to record information to speed up the notetaking process.
    • Write down only the information that answers your research questions.
    • Use symbols, diagrams, charts or drawings to simplify and visualize ideas.

Plagiarism Game

Goblin Threat Plagiarism Game from Lycoming College

Having Problems?  Copy and Paster This Link Into the Internet Explorer Browser:

http://www.lycoming.edu/library/instruction/tutorials/plagiarismGame.aspx

Why Cite?

Accurately documenting sources used for research is an important part of the writing and research process. Documentation is important because:

  • It is used to give credit for information originally written elsewhere.
  • Documentation enables others to find the same information again.
  • Failure to give credit for drawing on the work of others constitutes plagiarism.

Rio's Statement of Academic Integrity

All persons are expected to present and represent their own original work and to fully and properly credit sources of information used in the preparation of their own original work.

Plagerism

Plagiarism is the act of presenting someone else's work and ideas off as your own.  If you use information from a source other then yourself and you don't give that source credit, then you are guilty of plagiarism.  This includes rewriting an idea in your own words, paraphrasing, quoting and many other things that you might do while writing an academic paper. 

Citing your sources is the key to avoiding plagairism. If you aren't sure if you need to cite a source, ask for help.  

When In Doubt: Cite It!

Citation Styles

There are many citation styles but the most popular ones are:

  • APA (American Psychological Association): for sciences and social sciences
  • MLA (Modern Language Association):  for literature, arts, and humanities

We have guides available to use in the library, or you can see the staff at the Jenkins Center on campus as a quick resource.

The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) is also great for quick APA and MLA reference styles.