Good Learning Versus Plagiarism Tutorial

Use Sources Without Plagiarism
References and Citations

Wherever you use a bit of information from another author, you need to place a parenthetical reference or a footnote/endnote number at the end of that information. You should do this for summaries and paraphrases as well as for direct quotations. You also need to do this for non-print sources such as videos, interviews and internet materials.
Whether you use parenthetical references, footnotes, or endnotes depends on the course and instructor. Most subject disciplines use a particular reference style for work in that discipline. Psychology, for example, uses the APA style (established by the American Psychological Association), and English uses MLA (Modern Language Association). The rules and standards for a style allow for the briefest possible description of the source.
In any case, your course instructor has the responsibility to specify the style you will use, and provide you with information about the rules and standards of the style. The reference librarians will be able to help with many of your questions.

Bibliographic Citations

Besides the references or footnotes, most reference styles also require that you include a list at the end of your paper to give a more complete description or citation of each of your sources. This might be called a "Bibliography,"” a "Works Cited" list (by MLA), or a "References" list, depending on the style.
Each style has exact rules about the format, the order, and the punctuation of each citation. Even the allowed or required abbreviations are specified. This is in the interest of brevity, since you can omit repetitive labels for various details so long as you are following the rules.
The following details about each source will be given in a citation in most styles. Different kinds of material may be treated a little differently, so you should check the appropriate manual or guide for specifics. The following will cover most sources in most styles:
  • Name of the author or authors, if available.
  • Title of a book or article.
  • Publication or Source information.
    • For a book: the place of publication, the name of the publisher, and the date of publication.
    • For a journal article: the name of the journal, the date of publication, and the volume, issue, and page numbers.
    • When the source is used in electronic format, then you need to include information about your access to the source, including date of access and the virtual location of the source.

Again you need to consult with your instructor and the style manual for exact details and for variations, and the reference librarians may be able to help.

Penfield Library has the published manuals for the most used styles, including MLA, APA, Turabian, and the University of Chicago Press, and also brief guides for the APA and MLA styles. These are located at the Research Help Desk. Some information about the styles is also available online: Citing Sources

Here are some examples in the MLA style:
Magazine article from online full-text database:
Wilson, James Q. "Executing the Retarded: How to Think About a New Wedge Issue." National Review 23 July 2001: 37-39. InfoTrac OneFile. Penfield Library, Oswego, NY. 22 Aug. 2001. <>.

Magazine article (paper format):
Wilson, James Q. "Executing the Retarded: How to Think About a New Wedge Issue." National Review 23 July 2001: 37-39.

Journal article (paper format):
Williams, Marian R., and Jefferson E. Holcomb. "Racial Disparity and Death Sentences in Ohio." Journal of Criminal Justice 29.3 (2001): 207-218.

Sarat, Austin. When the State Kills: Capital Punishment and the American Condition. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2001.