When you write a research paper, you use facts, information and ideas from various sources to support your own ideas and develop new ones. Books, print articles, DVDs, electronic information from databases, interviews, and Web sites are examples of sources you might use. Citing your sources is vital because:
What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism is a form of cheating in which you use another's words or ideas as if they were your own.
Is plagiarism a serious offense?
In academic communities, honesty, trust, fairness, personal responsibility, and respect are necessary values. Academic integrity, which is based upon those values, establishes an environment where scholarly inquiry and intellectual growth are possible. One of the most common forms of academic dishonesty is plagiarism. It can result in failure of an assignment or even failure of a course. Repeated plagiarism may result in dismissal.
How do I make sure not to plagiarize?
Cite, cite, cite! Whenever you use an author's exact language in your paper, make certain to use quotation marks to indicate what words are the author's, and then cite that quotation. When you change the author's words to your own and your paraphrase the author's ideas, make certain you cite. You have borrowed those ideas and they must be attributed to the author whose works your are using.
MLA - Modern Language Association (web page)
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers - Seventh Edition
APA - American Psychological Association (web page)
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association - Sixth Edition