Writing academic papers: citing sources effectively
There are some interesting points to make, and for you the student to understand, when it comes to citing sources effectively. The better you are at acknowledging other people's work which you have used in your academic writing, the better will be the score you receive for your paper and the standing you will have within the academic community. There is nothing worse than using somebody else's work in creating your own writing and not citing it correctly. Well actually there is something worse than that. It's not citing it at all.
It is easy to use somebody else's work in creating your own and it is easy to be found out if you do not acknowledge the source of your material. In many ways the academic world is quite small. And it has become even smaller thanks to the digital revolution when people's work becomes far more public and far easier to disseminate. The number one rule is that you must always acknowledge other people's material if you use it in your writing. And the number two rule is that you must learn how to cite your sources effectively.
Direct quotations or almost so
In many cases in your academic writing you will find a quotation which fits perfectly into the argument you are developing. It is just so natural to use the exact words. And when this happens it's very easy to cite them directly. The rules about listing the title of the work, the creator of the work, where it was published and when, are easy to find and to list. But what happens when you find some information which is ideal for your work but the wording needs to be changed a little? If you are not going to use a verbatim quotation but rather the idea or thought as expressed by another writer, then you need to say that in your own academic writing. By listing the name of the person whose work you have been influenced by and stating in your writing that so-and-so believes this to be the case, you are covering all the bases. It is not a traditional verbatim quotation which requires the standard citing of sources correctly, but rather a mention of the fact that the thoughts expressed by writer X. are the same thoughts as you are now expressing in your academic writing.
Do not plagiarize
Of course it goes without saying that copying somebody else's work and passing it off as your own is unacceptable. But if you do take a quotation from a source and re-word it so as to imply that these are your original words, you will in all likelihood be found out. There is for every well written resource, many people who understand exactly what has been said.