Representing them as your own by
not indicating your source
Remember that one of the goals of assigning a
written paper or project is to assess your writing.
Quote when the words matter
Fewer quotes in science and experimental social
More use of quotes in the humanities and qualitative
social sciences, especially of primary sources
Not just changing one or two words, but putting an
authors statement into your own words.
Use of signal phrases can make this easier:
“According to the researcher John Smith…”
“A recent study by Wen and Jones (1989) suggests
Common Knowledge May Be…
A fact that you already knew before you
started the research paper
A fact that MOST people agree on
A fact that is easily looked up in any
number of sources
Unfortunately, in practice it gets a lot more
1. Bugs Bunny is one of
America’s best loved and
most recognizable cartoon
2. The U.S. Postal Service gave
Bugs Bunny his own
postal stamp in 1997.
3. When the U.S. Postal Service
teamed with Warner Bros. to
put Bugs Bunny on a postage
stamp, the decision proved to
be surprisingly controversial.
1. A black hole is an area in space
that is so dense not even light
can escape it.
2. The distance from the sun to
the center of the Milky Way is
approximately 26,000 light years.
3. The Reissner-Nordstrom black hole is just a
superposition of four Kaluza-Klein previous black
What kinds of things need to be
Data (whether or not you format it the same way)
Anything that isn’t your original work.
Why do scholars cite the things they cite?
Conceptual vs. Operational
A reference can refer to a concept, theory, or idea in an
The evolutionary lineage described by Smith (2009) suggests
A reference can also refer to a technique, method or piece of
equipment used in another study
Using the experimental apparatus developed by Jones (1985) we
Moravcsik, M. J., & Murugesan, P. (1975). Some Results on the Function and Quality of Citations.
Social studies of science, 5(1), 86-92. Sage Publications. Retrieved from
Organic or Perfunctory
An organic reference is one that is required for understanding
what is going on in the current paper
Miller (2003) outlined the basic concepts that we build on here.
A perfunctory reference is one that simply acknowledges the
existence of other work
Other researchers have examined this issue as well (Xi, 2003;
+ Evolutionary or Juxtapositional
The original paper is cited because the current paper builds
on the ideas in it
Building on the revolutionary work of Miller (2004) and Smith
(2002) we studied...
The original paper is cited because the current paper offers
an alternative to the original paper
Our study suggests an alternative explanation than that offered by
Confirmative or Negational
The current paper can confirm the work of the original paper
Our findings confirm the original results achieved by Smith
The current paper can dispute the findings of the original
Contrary to the results obtained by Wolfe-Simon (2011) we found
no evidence that arsenic was incorporated into the bacteria’s
Getting Help with Library Research
and Citation Questions
IM a Librarian
Reference librarian on duty
10am until close most days
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Make an appointment
Library homepage -> Research Help -> Research consultations
I have too many citations!
Cole, S. S. (2007). Researcher Behavior that Leads to Success in Obtaining
Grant Funding: A Model for Success. Research Management, 15(2), 16-32.