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 other's 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 use of quotation marks
  • 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, located on Stanton Street. Below are some helpful links to get you started on citing things correctly.


APA Style is from the American Psychology Association and is utilized mostly by the Social Sciences.

The Writing Center has a sample paper with directions on how to format correctly. Access this paper (written by the Department Chair of McKendree's Nursing Department): Sample APA Paper with formatting help.
Additional basics of APA are covered in the vidcast available at YouTube: APA Basics from the OWL at Purdue University. A vidcast of how to assemble the Reference Page is also available. Nursing students might also appreciate this YouTube instructional video:

The APA sponsors an excellent website: which offers a great deal of information for students and instructors.

Access a PowerPoint tutorial about APA style from the Purdue OWL.

Access our own Quick guide to common APA sources from the most updated and current 6th edition, 2nd printing.


ASA Style is a widely accepted format for writing university research papers in the field of sociology. It specifies such the arrangement and punctuation of footnotes and bibliographies. Standards for ASA style are specified in the ASA Style Guide, which is published by the American Sociological Association, the main scholarly organization for academic sociologists in the United States. The ASA Style Guide is designed to aid authors in preparing manuscripts for ASA journals and publications.

ASA on OWL at Purdue


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

Sample MLA Paper with formatting help.

Quick guide for common MLA sources from the most recent 2009 7th edition.

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