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Avoiding Plagiarism Tutorial: Cite Your Sources

A tutorial to help you learn about and avoid plagiarism in your academic work.


The readings and quizzes on this page should take approximately 5 minutes.

Citing Your Sources

What is a Citation?


A citation is a reference to the source of an idea or piece of information. Your citation should allow anyone who sees your reference list to be able to find the original source. Typically, citations include information such as author, title, date, website URL, etc.

Whenever you get information from a source, quote it, or base your ideas on another person's work, you must document the source you used in an accepted citation style. 


Why Cite?

  • To show where you found your information
  • To give credit to the author or creator whose ideas you are using
  • To add credibility and support to your own argument
  • To respect creators’ moral rights within the Canadian Copyright Act.


When and How to Cite

There are two basic ways to cite. You can use quotations to copy exact words or you can paraphrase and summarize ideas from the source. Learn more by clicking the links below:


Keep Track of Where You Found Your Information

Here are some tricks that will help: 

1. TAKE NOTES as you read an article (rather than copying and pasting directly from the web to your assignment).  Rewriting an author's words in your own words helps you organize, retain and understand the material you are reading.  Make sure your notes clearly identify what information you found where, and what you have written in your own words versus what is a direct quote.

2. When you print articles from the web, make sure that a full URL is included on the printed copy.


Citation styles

There are many different style guides for citations. The most commonly used style guides at Okanagan College are MLA (Modern Language Association), APA (American Psychological Association), and Chicago.

Most subject areas follow a specific citation style. If you are unsure which style you are supposed to use, ask your instructor.

Citation guides

The Library has online citation guides for APA, MLA, Chicago, AAA, and IEEE

These are great resources for finding out citation rules and contain examples of the most commonly used citations!

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