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Ethics & plagiarism: Citing Sources

This guide was originally created by Erich Heintzelman.

Tips For Citing

The following guidelines are useful when deciding what information you should cite.

  • Your speech or essay should contain no more than 25% of quoted material.  Your audience or readers will refer to your References if they want to read all the original material in your sources.
  • Information that is common knowledge does not need to be cited. For example, George Washington was the first President of the United States or O is the chemical symbol for Oxygen.  Note, information in Wikipedia is not necessarily common knowledge.
  • If you have questions, or are unsure if something might be common knowledge then it is best to cite your source.

Citing Sources

The easiest way to avoid plagiarism in a speech or essay is to cite the source of your information.  In Professor Gaythwaite's speech class you are required to use APA Style.  The following rules will explain when to cite:

Direct Quotations: When you use another author or speaker's exact words, they must be quoted and cited.

Ex1: As Davis (2005) stated , “Based on current evidence, there is reason to believe that human activity is having an effect on global climate changes” (p. 1811).

Paraphrasing or Summarizing:  Summarizing or putting another speaker's thoughts or ideas into your own words still must be cited, giving credit to the original source.

Ex.2: Harris (2008) explained that the Presidential election will be influenced by the 18-24 year old voter demographic (p. 594).

Stating Statistics or Making Claims: Statistics should always be cited and making claims that could be challenged or questioned should be cited.

Ex. 3: Texting while driving is obviously more dangerous than drinking and driving (Bishop, 2009).

  • It is useful to read your source, close it, and then write out your ideas in your own words without consulting the source.  Later, consult your source and if what you have written too closely resembles the source then cite the source and page number(s).

Subject Guide

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Jenna Settles
Osceola Campus
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