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 Citing Sources


​Citations are notations made both within a text, as well as at the end of a document, informing your readers about the sources of information that you used. The location, format, and type of information included in a citation varies depending on the citation style used. 

Ask your instructor which citation style they want to use. Use guides below to learn about why and how to cite your sources.

See the online guides for three most commonly used citation styles at COS:


Plagiarism happens whenever you represent someone else's ideas as your own. There are many degrees of plagiarism. In general, we think of plagiarism as an intentional act of copying someone else's work word-for-word, and occasionally this does happen. However, more often, plagiarism occurs when you use someone else's word or ideas without properly paraphrasing and/or crediting the source you used. Plagiarism is a serious academic crime, usually resulting in a grade of "F" on the assignment.​​

Citing your sources as directed by the three provided online citation guides is the best way to avoid plagiarism. Careful research methods and proper note taking can also help you avoid plagiarism.​

Additional sources:


​​Plagiarism and copyright are two separate issues. Plagiarism is an academic crime enforced by academic institutions. Copyright is a form of protection offered by the US government to protect "original works of authorship​." Violation of copyright is a crime enforced by the United States judicial system. For more information about copyright, visit the U.S. Copy​right Office​