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Humanities & Social Sciences

To learn more about common citation style guides and how to properly use citations, check out the Citation and Style Guide page!  

Avoiding Plagiarism

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, to "plagiarize" means:

  • to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own
  • to use (another's production) without crediting the source
  • to commit literary theft
  • to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source

The best way to avoid an accusation of plagiarism is to carefully cite your sources. The Harvard Guide to Using Sources provides useful tips on how to integrate and properly cite your sources to avoid plagiarism. 

Saving Citations 

Always save a copy of the complete citation, even if you have the entire e-book, e-journal article, or the full item in hard copy (print). Use the saved citations to create your footnotes, bibliography, or other references within your own work. Here's why:

  • If you use someone else's work to support your own ideas, it is important to give credit to the original source. Neglecting to do so is considered plagiarism, taking credit for someone else's work. Not only is that unethical, it could get you into major trouble.
  • Other people reading your work will be able to follow the citations in order to learn more about the subject matter.

Most article databases provide a way to email citations to yourself, so be sure to do it!

Citation Tools

A free and open-source reference management software to manage bibliographic data and related research materials.

ZoteroBib or zbib helps you build a bibliography instantly from any computer or device, without creating an account or installing any software. 

Generate references, citations and bibliographies in a whole range of journal styles with just a few clicks.

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