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Cite My Sources and Avoid Plagiarism

This guide explains how and why we cite sources in a research paper.

When do we cite?

Simply stated, we need to cite any time we write about an idea that belongs to someone else. If you include a direct quote or summary of something you read (or heard, watched, viewed, etc), you need to include a citation. Citing your sources also shows readers where they can find the original source of that content so they can learn more about it. 

Plagiarism can be intended...or unintended--a result of not knowing exactly when citation is needed.  Watch the video below to get a better idea of when citation is appropriate, as well as the basics of the process to help you avoid plagiarism in your projects. Then visit the links below for additional help with quoting and paraphrasing in your projects and, finally, to view the details of VCU's Honor system.

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