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Logistics: Citations & Plagiarism

Printable Examples

Citation Template

Fill in the blanks of the template below to see which elements will make up the citation for you source. You may not fill every box on the template because not all sources will have all these elements as part of their bibliographic information. See the dropdown menu under Elements of a Citation to learn more.



Title of source.


Title of container,










Publication date,





Second level container (such as a database or collection)

Title of Container,










Publication date,




Printable Quick Reference Guide

Formatting the Reference List

  • Your reference list will be a separate page at the end of your paper. Title it References, in bold font, and center the title at the top of your page.

  • Capitalize only the first word in the title and subtitle. Capitalize any proper nouns (e.g. United States, Abraham Lincoln, World Health Organization)

  • Alphabetize entries by authors’ last names.

  • If an entry has no author’s name, alphabetize by the first significant word in the title.

  • If you have more than one work by the same author, order by year of publication, with the earliest first.

A Basic, Comprehensive Definition

Often, definitions of plagiarism describe it as the theft of someone's words or ideas.

At the same time, most of them aren't as clear that plagiarism is a kind of fraud. Fraud is misrepresentation that aims to gain an unfair advantage. 

Since many cases of plagiarism don't involve any actual theft, and all of them involve misrepresentation, fraud seems to be a better description of what's wrong with plagiarism.

Plagiarism is the act of representing intellectual work as something it is not -- including representing someone else's work as your own and representing your own previous work as something new.

"How Can I Avoid Plagiarism!?"

There is a very simple way to avoid plagiarism: ALWAYS credit the sources of the facts, ideas, and words you use in your writing.

In fact, there is an exception. You are not required to cite a source for "common knowledge" -- those things everyone knows.

However, if you are in doubt about whether something you saw in a source is common knowledge, CITE IT! "Better safe than sorry" is the rule to follow.

The resource pages included below include some very useful tools that will help you cite any source you use and, therefore, avoid plagiarism.

American Psychological Association (APA)

"Plagiarism. Researchers do not claim the words and ideas of another as their own; they give credit where credit is due (APA Ethics Code Standard 8.11, Plagiarism)."

"Just as researchers do not present the work of others as their own (plagiarism), they do not present their own previously published work as new scholarship (self-plagiarism)."

(Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed., pp. 15-16.)

Modern Language Association (MLA)

"Plagiarism is presenting another person's ideas, words, or entire works as your own" (MLA Handbook, 9th ed., 2021, p. 96).

The MLA Handbook (9th ed.) recognizes several forms of plagiarism:

  • "Copying a published or unpublished text, whether deliberately or accidentally," without giving the source credit
  • "Paraphrasing someone's ideas or arguments" without giving the source credit
  • "Copying someone's unique wording without giving proper credit"
  • Turning in a paper ... written by someone else, even if you paid for it"
  • Reusing your own "ideas or phrases that you used in prior work" without citing your prior work

(MLA Handbook, 9th ed., 2021, p. 96, emphasis added)

Also see the MLA Style Center.

Online Tutorials for Avoiding Plagiarism

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