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Synthesis 302 Reading about Reading Spring 2018: Avoiding Plagiarism

Citation Management Tools

Original or Plagiarism

There are many Citation Management tools on the market today. Here is a list and summary of just a few.

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RefWorks ($$) is one of the easiest citation management tools to use. RefWorks is web-based for easy access from anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection. Using RefWorks, you can easily add citations to create your RefWorks library and generate bibliographies from your RefWorks library.

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Zotero is also an easy-to-use open source (free) tool that is accessible via the web—it actually lives right in your browser! Using Zotero, it is especially easy to capture and save citations found on webpages, and to add notes and other information to saved citations for efficient and creative organization.

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EndNote ($$$) is a very sophisticated citation manager that offers the largest number of citation formats and options. The files reside on the computer which does not make it dependent on an internet connection; it does offer a basic but less functional Web based option; it is considered more difficult to learn and use.

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Mendeley is a free reference manager and academic social network that can help you organize your research, collaborate with others online, and discover the latest research. Automatically generate bibliographies, collaborate easily with other researchers online, easily import papers from other research software, find relevant papers based on what you’re reading, access your papers from anywhere online, read papers on the go, with their new iPhone app, etc..

Video: Guide to Plagiarism

Avoiding Plagiarism

Do not procrastinate. When you wait until the last minute to begin working on an assignment, you will feel rushed.  Either you will fail to document the use of your sources accurately or you might make a poor choice and choose to simply "copy and paste" together your paper.  Not a good idea.  To avoid this potential hazard, start early.  You will thank yourself later.

Get comfortable with your required/ often used citation style. The more you use your chosen citation style (MLA, APA, Chicago), the more comfortable you become with appropriately using it and documenting your sources accurately. Consult the style guides for the format, such as the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, the MLA Handbook, etc.

Keep track of your source materials. The best way to do this is have an actual copy of your source.  Print out, copy the source, or save the electronic copy. It is much easier to work with paper material, than try to remember where you found a source. 

Take good notes.  Take complete notes, and include author's names and page numbers for easy reference later. Within your source material, highlight key passages and annotate the text in the marginsJust be sure you are doing this note taking in a copy of the source material--not highlighting in a library book.

Maintain a working bibliography. Essentially, keep a list of any sources that you consult or think you might include in your assignment. Make sure that in this working bibliography you note the important citation information for your source material (ex. title, author, publication information, URL, etc.) Use the citation tools available in databases, word processing software, and online.

Ask your librarian or professor. If you are unsure about how to cite source material or whether or not something should be cited, check with your instructor or librarian; they are the professionals.

For further information, see

5 Types of Plagiarism

Type 1: Copy and Paste Plagiarism or Direct Plagiarism

When you copy a sentence, phrase, or paragraph word for word, but do not quote your source.

Type 2: Word Switch Plagiarism

When you rephrase a person's work and insert it into your own work without acknowledging its original source.  If you take a sentence from a source and change a few works without acknowledging your source, it is still plagiarism.

This is not paraphrasing. For information on how to correctly paraphrase, see When To Cite.

Type 3: Mosaic or Blending Plagiarism

When you: mix words or ideas from an unacknowledged source in with your own words or ideas; mix together uncited words and ideas from several sources into a single work; or mix together properly cited uses of a source with uncited uses.

Type 4: Insufficient Acknowledgement

When you correctly cite your source once, but continue to use the author's work with out giving additional proper citation.

Type 5: Self-Plagiarism

When you use a paper or assignment completed for one class to satisfy the assignment for a different class.  Even if you modify a previous paper or assignment, you must get permission from your professor/ instructor and correctly cite your previous paper.