This is the fourth of seven video modules in Langara Library's Avoiding Plagiarism Tutorial. This module provides an overview of why we cite in academia, and introduces the three main citation styles used at Langara - APA, MLA, and Chicago styles.
Narrator: Now that you know what plagiarism is, we'll teach you how to avoid it by correctly citing your sources. When you cite your sources, you provide publication details for the original work to your readers so they can find it, you give credit to the author of the original work, and you strengthen your own argument by incorporating credible works by experts in the field. You also show your instructor that you're well informed and have read widely and deeply from appropriate sources that best support your argument. You also show them that you can do research, and turn that research into an academic paper. Let's hear what Langara instructors have to say about citing.
English Instructor: Well, if you don't cite, you risk academic misconduct, and academic misconduct - cheating - could end up in just a simple warning if you're lucky, or you could actually fail the course, or your term project. So it's super important that your cite. The other thing is, over and above all of that, is the respect for the person that's done all this work. You add credibility to your report by citing their work and you also recognize the hard work, the time, and the effort that that author put into their work. When you're writing your first research paper, you can get really stressed out. Students get very nervous because they know that the stakes have been raised. They also know that they're not always given a lot of direction how to do it by their instructor, particularly in other subjects. So when you are afraid you might be plagiarizing, first of all, if you're afraid you might be plagiarizing, the odds are pretty good that you are. But if you're not sure, usually the first step would be go to your instructor, show them what you've done, but don't hand it in, and say, is this the kind of thing I should be doing? Or bring it to the Writing Center we'll say to you, you know if you put that in your own words, if you put it on your own words that you've taken from someone else, it's still plagiarizing unless you have a reference to it.
Narrator: There are numerous citation styles in existence, but the three most common are: APA from the American Psychological Association, MLA from the Modern Language Association, and Chicago from the University of Chicago Press. These citation styles are generally associated with subject areas. For example, APA is often used in the social sciences, MLA in the humanities and liberal arts, and Chicago in history and business here at Langara. Citation style guides ensure your references are formatted consistently. They specify which publication details to include: for example, author name, year of publication, et cetera, order of appearance for publication details, and punctuation conventions, such as when to capitalize and italicize. In some ways, they're like a recipe telling you which ingredients to add, when. Ensure you stay consistent in citation style and avoid using more than one style in the same assignment. Your instructor will usually specify which style they would like you to use. When in doubt, ask. Next, we'll look at the mechanics of citing your sources.