Citing Sources: Avoiding Plagiarism

Mastering college-level writing also includes mastering citations, so you can avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism happens when you try to pass off someone else's ideas as your own or turn in others' work as your own. Students also plagiarize unintentionally by not correctly citing their work. Citing your work correctly is an important part of the research and writing process.

Here are some of the ways students plagiarize:

  • Submitting someone else's work as your own, including purchasing papers or reusing them

  • Using someone else's words or ideas without giving proper credit

  • Improper in-text citations

  • Giving incorrect information about the source

  • Using too much information from one source

Fortunately, there is help! A great place to start is the Writing Center. Below are some other helpful links to get you started on citing things correctly.

APA Style is from the American Psychology Association and is utilized mostly by Psychology and has expanded to many other fields in higher education including nursing, medicine, and more.

For more information on APA Style, consult the Purdue Owl's section on APA Style.

The APA also sponsors an excellent website: APA Style Blog which offers a great deal of supplemental information for unique cases and issues.


ASA Style is a widely accepted format from the American Sociological Association for writing university research papers in the field of sociology. Standards for ASA style are specified in the ASA Style Guide.

For more information on ASA Style, consult the Purdue Owl's section on ASA Style.


The Chicago Manual of Style is a writing guide and citation style primarily used in the field of history. A key difference between this and other styles is the extensive use of footnotes.

For more information on Chicago Style, consult the Purdue Owl's section on Chicago Style.


MLA Style is a citation and style guide set forth by the Modern Language Association of America. It is mostly used in writing for English, the liberal arts, and humanities.

For more information on MLA Style, consult the Purdue Owl's section on MLA Style.