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English for Adult Upgrading

This is the latest version of the ENGLISH GUIDE for Adult Upgrading courses

Citations and Plagiarism

In western culture, our words and ideas are considered intellectual property and cannot be used by others without permission. You commit plagiarism when you use another person's words or ideas without crediting them, which is a serious academic offense that could get you dismissed from school. The best way to avoid plagiarism is to cite your sources and cite them properly. Click on the links below to learn more about citations.


What is a Citation? 

Why Cite? 

What to Cite? 

How to Cite? 


Click the links below or the expanded menu to learn more about plagiarism or a specific citation style.


The MLA Handbook is published by the Modern Language Association, the authority on MLA documentation style. MLA style is widely used in the humanities, especially in writing on language and literature. MLA style features brief parenthetical citations in the text keyed to an alphabetical list of works cited that appears at the end of the work.

MLA Style Guides

MLA Citation Style QuickGuide (a popular 7 page guide created by the University of Alberta's Augustana Campus Library).

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Why cite your sources?

You must document the sources you used in order to give recognition to the original author. Whether paraphrasing or using direct quotes, ideas that are not your own must be cited.

How do I choose a style?

Your instructor will provide you with the preferred style for your course. They may also have specific formatting instructions. Ensure you remain consistent with style and formatting, and provide enough information for the reader to identify the work or cited material.

Get Citation Help

Confused by the different citation styles? This chart provides a side-by-side comparison of APA, MLA, and Chicago styles. To find a specific example, use the search function (Command + F for Mac, Control + F for PC)and type in the example you are looking for, such as, "Book," "Three or More Authors," "Journal Article," etc. This chart was created by Justin King Rademaekers. It is available from the OWL at Purdue website.

Citation Management

Managing citations and referencing sources is an important part of academic writing. Online citation management tools are available to help you create and manage citations.These tools allow you to access and manage your sources online in a single place, insert in-text citations, footnotes, and bibliographies into documents, share sources with others, import references from library databases and websites, organize and search saved citations, and more.

Citation Management Tools & Software:

  • Zotero - A free, open source tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share research sources. Organize citations into folders, add tags, make notes, and automatically generate bibliographies in dozens of citation styles. Citations can easily be added by dragging and dropping PDFs. With the Chrome browser add-on, Zotero will automatically download citation information from compatible websites. A Word plugin is also available and once installed, the Zotero toolbar allows you to insert citations and generate bibliographies inside your document. Syncing across computers is also available, allowing you to have the same citations across devices.‚Äč
  • Mendeley - A free reference manager to help you organize and share your research. Available as an app or desktop version, allowing syncing between multiple computers. A Word plugin is available to add documents to bibliographies and add in-text citations. Excellent app for those working in groups. The ability to share documents allows groups to assign people with different aspects of the research, and then share their their cited articles through a shared folder. Free with up to 2GB of storage.
  • Microsoft Word - Most word processing software includes citation management tools. In MS Word, go to the References tab, then click on Insert Citation, then click to Add a New Source. More information is here
  • EndNote Basic - Free web-based service used to store references and create bibliographies. Offers up to 2GB of storage.
  • Library databases - Many library databases will have a “Cite” tool or “Citation” generator. Use this to generate a citation for the source. Review the citation according to a citation style guide to ensure accuracy.
  • Unsure which is the best option for you? MIT and UVIC libraries have charts that compare the different features of EndNote, Mendeley, and Zotero. 

Be sure to review any citations for accuracy. Spelling and syntax errors are common with computer-generated references. The Library will help you construct citations and review reference style guides. Staff may not be able to assist with citation management software.

Keep your personal privacy in mind when using these online tools. Citation management products store data on non-Canadian servers. Use of these reference services is voluntary. Your username, email address and citations may be stored in the US or another country. Your account information will be subject to the laws of the country where the information is stored.

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