Citation & Plagiarism


With the amount of easy-to-access material on the Internet, the ever-present opportunity and temptation exists for plagiarism. Teaching proper research techniques and citation is crucial to prevention. It’s also important to learn how to detect plagiarism, should there be a need. So, let’s get to this month’s topic: citation and plagiarism. Citation is giving the full and proper credit to any part or entire work that you refer to or include in a work of your own. Plagiarism is copying someone else’s work and presenting it as your own.


According to the American Psychological Association’s detailed guidelines for proper electronic citation, available online at, a reference of an Internet source should provide a document title or description, a date (either the date of publication, update or retrieval) and a URL. Whenever possible, identify the authors of a document as well. The association also says that authors using and citing Internet sources should observe the following two guidelines:

1. Direct readers as closely as possible to the information being cited. Whenever possible, reference specific documents rather than home or menu pages.

2. Provide URLs that work.

Types of Citation

A paper’s citation is classified depending on the properties of the medium where it appeared:

  • Archive. The paper has appeared in an archive.
  • Archive group. The paper appeared in a group of archives.
  • Journal. The paper has appeared in a scientific journal, such as The Physical Review. The “journal” classification is for those publications where pages are numbered sequentially from issue to issue within a volume.
  • Periodical. The paper has appeared in some other sort of periodical.
  • Book or chapter. The “paper” is actually a complete book or has appeared as a chapter in a book.
  • Conference proceedings. The paper has appeared in the proceedings of a conference.
  • Other. For example, a URL for a paper that appeared on the Web. Generally, this citation should include only minimal information necessary to specify the paper.
  • Citation and Plagiarism Resources:

  • Play It Safe in Cyberspace
    The goal of this site is to empower children, parents and teachers to prevent cybercrime through knowledge of the law, their rights and how to avoid misuse of the Internet.
    This site automatically creates citations for Web sites, online magazines, newspapers and other bibliographic content from the information provided.
  • MLA Style: Paper and Electronic
    The style recommended by the Modern Language Association ( for preparing scholarly manuscripts and student research papers.
  • Cheating 101: Detecting Plagiarized Papers
    This site provides a checklist of what to look for when you suspect plagiarism.
  • Plagiarism and the Web
    Here you will find suggestions for preventing and detecting plagiarism — many of which also help with more common problems such as papers borrowed or purchased from others.
  • Judith B. Rajala, M.A., president and founder of, is an independent education technology instructor and former K-12 educator. She is also a consultant to several Connecticut-based state technology organizations. Visit EduHound online at or e-mail

    This article originally appeared in the 11/01/2002 issue of THE Journal.

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