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Simpson Library | Special Collections

Research Skills for First-Year Seminars (FSEMs)


Plagiarism is defined as "copying or imitating the language, ideas, and/or thoughts of another and presenting this material as one's original work." -- from the UMW Honor System Guide and Constitution 2020 / 2021.

Whenever you use someone else's work, avoid plagiarism by citing the work you used. 

What is a Citation?

What is a citation:

citation is a way of giving credit to individuals when you use their creative and intellectual work.  Citations include information such as titles, authors' names, publishers' names, and dates of publication.

When to use citations:

  • Quoting.
  • Paraphrasing someone else's idea.
  • Using statistics created by someone else.
  • Using someone else's work.
  • Relying upon someone else's ideas or interpretation.
  • Mentioning a fact that is not common knowledge

Citations are not needed when:

  • Stating common knowledge that can be found in many sources.  (If you aren't sure if something is common knowledge, err on the side of caution and use a citation.)
  • Expressing your own ideas, opinions or interpretations.
Which citation style to use?

The citation style sometimes depends on the academic discipline of your course.   Always be sure to verify the correct citation style with your professor.

Watch this quick video to get a better understanding of why it's so important to use citations.