Credit Your Sources

What is plagiarism?

 The action or practice of taking someone else’s work, idea, etc., and passing it off as one’s own.
-Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., s.v. "plagiarism"

Plagiarism is academic misconduct and subject to penalties ranging from a letter of reprimand to expulsion as outlined in Policy 71 - Student discipline.

If your work includes someone else's work or ideas, then you must give credit to that individual by providing a citation.

What is a citation?

A citation briefly indicates to your reader what you've taken from someone else’s work and where in that work you found it. It refers to your source list for the complete bibliographic information for that work.

Style guides may prescribe citation style options, such as footnotes, endnotes, or citations enclosed in parentheses and embedded in the body of your work.

When submitting material for publication, you must follow the style specified by your publisher. These guidelines are available from the publisher and will often be available on the publisher’s website under “information for authors.”

Format your citations and bibliography with consistency according to a specific style. The style you should use depends on the common practice in your field. Ask your advisor or consult this list of style guides.

A citation is required for any of the various ways that you may be using someone else's work, whether you are quoting or paraphrasing words, summarizing, referring to, or building upon another's ideas or reasoning, or using the products of someone else's work.

Citation examples (PDF)

Cite sources from all media

  • Print - For example: books, journal and newspaper articles, dissertations and conference proceedings.
  • Internet - For example: e-journal articles, e-books, webpages and blogs.
  • Broadcast - For example: television and radio.
  • Verbal - For example: classroom lectures, seminar or conference presentations and interviews.

Avoid plagiarism

Plagiarism video slides and transcript [PDF]

Graduate studies and citations

Providing accurate documentation of source material (PDF) is a foundational aspect of scholarly communication.

Plagiarism is academic misconduct even if unintentional (PDF). To avoid unintentional plagiarism:

  • submit content more than once only with approval
  • accept only limited editorial assistance
  • take notes effectively and cite accurately
  • be alert to the risk of unconscious plagiarism

Examples of plagiarism (PDF)

Tips and best practices


Consult writers' handbooks [PDF] to obtain writing advice and academic integrity guidelines.

Take detailed notes throughout the research process

Identify all quotations, paraphrases and summaries in your notes and distinguish these from your own original work. Keep track of the bibliographic information for your source material as you discover it.

Use a web-based bibliographic management program such as RefWorks to organize your references in folders. Export records from databases to your folders. RefWorks will automatically produce a bibliography of your references, formatted according to your style of choice.

Style guides

Refer to a style guide (PDF) that is an accepted standard for your discipline. A style guide will specify formatting requirements for citations and bibliographies.

Next: Collaborate with others

Academic integrity guide for graduate students

Creative Commons License
Graduate Students and Academic Integrity by University of Waterloo Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.