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Caribbean History (Professor Bishop): Citing your Sources

Citing your Sources

Direct Quotes, Paraphrasing, and Common Knowledge

Direct Quotation is copying your source exactly the way you found it - word for word.

Use Direct Quotes sparingly in your paper - most of your information should be paraphrased.

Show your reader you are quoting directly from your source by putting the quoted passage within quotation marks and following it by an In-Text Citation. The quoted passage should be integrated with your own thoughts and words.


Direct Quote - Example (MLA format)

In Norse mythology those who are killled in battle go to Valhalla, or "Hall of the Slain," where "they feast every night, while by day they fight to the death, reviving at nightfall to feast together once more" (Simpson 973).

Simpson, Jacqueline. "Valhalla." Encyclopedia of Death & the Human Experience, edited by Clifton D. Bryant and Dennis L. Peck, vol. 2, SAGE Publications, 2009, pp. 973-974. Gale Virtual Reference Library, http://lib-proxy.sunywcc.edu:2634/apps/doc/CX3201700336/GVRL?u=valh61524&sid=GVRL&xid=f826a135.

You can make minor changes to a Direct Quote so that it fits better into your text.


You can shorten a direct quote by cutting some of the text. Add ellipses ... to show where the missing text would have been. Be sure you have not changed the meaning of the passage with the edited text.

“Papers from the treatment and control groups were then tested … for plagiarism, with the students never told that they were part of a plagiarism study” (Jaschik).

Source: Jaschik, Scott. “Plagiarism Prevention Without Fear.” Inside Higher Ed. 26 Jan. 2010, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2010/01/26/plagiarize


Use square brackets [ ] around individual words you have changed so the quote fits better in your text. E.g. tense changes or to clarify pronouns (it, him, her) mentioned earlier in the original.

Original: “The overall results found that students who went through the tutorial were less likely to plagiarize” (Jaschick).

Changed: “The overall results found that students who [go] through the tutorial [are] less likely to plagiarize” (Jaschick).

Source: Jaschik, Scott. “Plagiarism Prevention Without Fear.” Inside Higher Ed. 26 Jan. 2010, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2010/01/26/plagiarize


Direct quotes are copied word for word from the original text including unusual spelling or typographical errors. Follow any problematic word with [sic] to indicate to your professor this is not a mistake on your part. Sic is the Latin word for thus, meaning: that's the way I found it.

Upon discovering someone on Twitter using her name and photo, the author posted "The person using my name -- Margaret Atwood -- and my picture on Twitter is not me. Please stop imperonating [sic] me. Thanks."

Source: @MargaretAtwood. "The person using my name -- Margaret Atwood -- and my picture on Twitter is not me. Please stop imperonating me. Thanks." 25 July 2009, 5:37 p.m. https://twitter.com/MargaretAtwood/status/2839206166.

Paraphrase (or Indirect Quote) is when you put the author's ideas into your own words.

Be sure to read the source thoroughly and understand what the author is trying to say.

Follow the paraphrased passage with an In-Text Citation - even though these are your words, they are the original authors ideas and need to be credited.


Paraphrase - Example (MLA format)

Original:

"Valhalla is the conventional English-language rendering of Old Icelandic Valhöll (The Hall of the Slain), which, according to Nordic mythology of the Viking Age, is a paradise reserved for warriors who died in battle, presided over by Odin, the god of war. There they feast every night, while by day they fight to the death, reviving at nightfall to feast together once more" (Simpson 973).

Paraphrased:

In Norse mythology, those who have met their death in combat go to Valhalla, which translates to "Hall of the Slain." There they find a warriors heaven, spending eternity fighting one another and feasting in the company of the god of war, Odin (Simpson 973).

Jacqueline. "Valhalla." Encyclopedia of Death & the Human Experience, edited by Clifton D. Bryant and Dennis L. Peck, vol. 2, SAGE Publications, 2009, pp. 973-974. Gale Virtual Reference Library, http://lib-proxy.sunywcc.edu:2634/apps/doc/CX3201700336/GVRL?u=valh61524&sid=GVRL&xid=f826a135.

Common Knowledge is information that is so well known that it does not require a citation. This includes as scientific facts, historical facts and common rules.

Be careful to not confuse well accepted ideas with common knowledge. If it's possible to have differing opinions on something, it is not common knowledge (e.g. "Everyone knows that...")

BUT there may be times you need to cite facts that are common knowledge.


Common Knowledge - Examples 

H2O is the chemical formula for water.

H2O is the chemical formula for water. There is no other chemical formula for water. You cannot argue with this statement.

George Washington was the first President of the United States.

There is no doubt about who was the first President of the U.S.  If you were writing this statement for a paper during a study-abroad semester in another country, it would not be common knowledge and you would need to cite it.

When driving, you must come to a full stop at a red light.

If the topic of your paper was motor vehicle violations you would need to cite the law that states you have to come to a full stop at a red light (7 N.Y. VAT Law Sec. 1111). This is because you will be making some point or argument about this subject. 

In-text citation in MLA format

Most in-text citations in  MLA format refer to the author and page

(Author page)

example: (Johnson 25)

If  you are citing a source with more than one author (but less than four) then you must list all the authors and the page

example: (Smith, Thomas, and Jenkins 20)

If you are citing a source with more than three authors  you need to provide the first author listed in the full citation followed by an et al

example: (Cassidy et al. 899)

If there is no paging provided for your source (such as website) or your source doesn't use paging  (like a video or audio recording) then your citation would just consist of the author's last name

example: (Franks)

If you work doesn't have an author you'll need to state part of the title in your in-text citation. Make sure that the title is put in double quotes (" ")

For example the full citation for The Library of Congress's African American Pamphlets homepage is:

"African American Pamphlets Home Page." American Memory. The Library of Congress, 19 Oct. 1998. Web. 19 May 2015.

The in-text citation should give enough information to find this citation on the work cited page

The citation starts with: "African American Pamphlets Home Page"

so the in-text would be ("African American Pamphlets Home Page")

The relationship between intext citation and work cited page

 

In-text citation in APA format

APA style requires the author, year and page for in-text citations:

(Author, date, page)

example:    (Smith, 2000, p. 20)

If the information you are citing is from more than one page you would use pp. instead of p. to indicate more than one page is being cited

Example: (Smith, 2000, pp. 23-24)

If you are citing a work that doesn't have pagination (such as a website) indicate which paragraph the information appears in by using para. for an abbreviation of the word paragraph.

            Example: (Thomas, 2015, para. 3)

If you are citing a work that has two authors you must list both last names

Example: (Jameson & Harris, 2003, p. 42)

If you are citing a work that has between three and five authors you must list all of the authors’ names the first time you cite the work.  Each subsequent time the work you need to provide the first author listed followed by an et al.

Example: 1st time citing a source with four authors 

(Parker, Sterling, Hodges & Taylor, 2015, p. 87)

Each additional citation would be (Parker et al., 2015, p. 87)

If you are citing a work that has six or more authors cite the last name of the first author followed by an et al.

Example: (Daly et al., 2010, p. 78)

If you are citing a work that is authored by a group (a government agency, corporation, non-profit association, think tank) you must type out the group name as it appears in the text

Example: (The Annenberg Foundation, 2014, par. 3)

If you are citing a work that doesn’t have a date of publication use n.d. (no date) in place of a date. 

Example: (National Health Institute, n.d., par. 4)

If you are citing a work that doesn't have an author you'll need to state part of the title in your in-text citation.  Make sure that the title is put in double quotes (" ").

Example: Below is the full citation for a webpage without a listed author.

State-by-State Effects of a Ruling for the Challengers in King v. Burwell. (2015). Retrieved June 1,

2015, from http://kff.org/interactive/king-v-burwell-effects/ 

The citation starts with State-by-State Effects of a Ruling for the Challengers in King v. Burwell

So the in-text citation would be ("State-by-State Effects", 2015, par. 2)

If you are citing a particular quote from a video or audio recording provide the time stamp of when the quote occurs:

             

             Example: (Ferris, 2008, 3:15)

work cited page

The works cited page is an alphabetical list of all the sources cited in your paper.  Your sources are represented in the works cited page via a full citation.   The full citation includes information to identify the source.  The types of information recorded in a full citation can include the author name(s), the title of the work, date of publication, title of periodical, title of website, name of the database and the type of medium (web, print, video, cd).   

If you need more help with creating full citations for your sources please consult our citation resources page.  

Citation Guides

Online MLA style resources:

Online APA resources: