Friday, September 19, 2008

When do we need to cite information we used in our paper?


From the onset of middle school and throughout the remainder of the educational process, students will often be assigned the task of writing a paper. The information used in these papers may contain not only knowledge which the students themselves possess, but also other material to support the student's ideas. This other material will be obtained from books, periodicals (magazines), newspapers, online resources and many other sources. When writing a paper that calls for more than personal knowledge on a subject, it is absolutely essential to include a variety of information from a variety of sources. Of course, you have to follow the instructions of your teacher or professor in order to determine the type and number of sources you will draw from for your information.
The two main ways we use the information we obtain from an outside source is through either directly quoting this material, or by reading the information and then explaining it in our own words which is called paraphrasing. Since I am an English teacher, I will be using a format called MLA in my examples. Your teacher may call for APA or another format, but the most important thing to realize is, if we use information that is not commonly known or that we learned during our research on a topic, then we must always give credit to those who developed this information for us. If we do not do this, we have committed a very serious offense, which is called plagiarism.
If we cut and paste or use the exact words from a source of information in our paper, we use quotation marks around the words we have borrowed. For example, if you wanted to use my words from paragraph one above, they would look like this:
"When writing an English paper, it is absolutely essential to include a variety of information from a variety of sources" (Takemoto 1).
If you were paraphrasing my words, you might say something like the following, and it would look like this:
Students are asked to use several different sources and types of information when writing English papers (Takemoto 1).
I am not a published author, and much of what I have listed here is common knowledge among educators, authors and publishers, but I used my words just to give you a sample.
I would love to read what you have to say on the subject!

If you need further help with in-text citations (the words we put or paraphrase in our paper) or with creating a works cited page, try these websites:





Although these websites offer both help and information, the user must be certain to enter the information in the correct way in order to get a correct works cited entry. Once you are sure that you have entered all the information accurately, you can cut and paste your entry into your document. Check again to be sure that the cut/paste process went smoothly, and you are all set.

Good luck with your paper. If you have questions or comments, please post to my blog and I'll respond as soon as I can! English Rocks!

32 comments:

The Lewis Family said...

Wow Janet-

I wish that all high school students could participate in this blog. I teach 10th grade English and even by this age kids don't get that you can't just cut and paste and copy other people's work. I always have to fight with kids as well when it comes to paraphrasing. They always suggest taht if they are able to write about something they read and put it in their own works it doesn't need to be cited. As an English teacher, I know better. I have to say, so many kids do get away with copying other people's words or not citing information correctly because there are teachers that don't take the time to really check up on sources. I honestly wish that a program existed that could run a background check of every sentence written to things that have been published - maybe in the future.

I had an honors student who copied an entire paper from the Internet. He received a zero for the assignment, failed the marking period, and got kicked out of the honors program. To this day he still acts as though he doesn't care and always says "What's the big deal?" The sad thing is, he was one of few that actually got caught. I wish there was a better way to get the moral part of this issue across to students.

-Jamie Lewis

Julia Elloff said...

I teach writing in fifth grade, and I try to begin early with talking about copyright and plagiarism! It's funny to see how conscientious fifth graders are when they first hear about this concept- they are scared I'll "fail" them and they want to cite everything, but it's sad to reflect how much of that innocent desire to follow the rules can be lost as they get older.

LibraryGirl said...

Thank you for showing the two different examples of quoting your words and paraphrasing your words. That was helpful and I think it is especially helpful to students see an example instead of just telling them what to do. It is so important to cite, but we must get the teachers to understand the importance as well. Fourth graders at my school are doing reports. The librarian insists on citing works, the teachers didn't think that was important. As we go more and more in the digital age, it is vital to get across the importance of citing work. It is becoming easier to check up on plagerism. Thanks for your work!

jt's clarion cohort said...

Thanks for your comments. At our high school, all outside writing assignments must be submitted to Turnitin.com as well as to the teacher. This service is becoming more and more significant now that so many schools are participating. It scans all student work against the work from students in the other schools and also from many internet sources to check for plagiarism issues.
I have a paper due in 532 and, sure enough, I'll be submitting my own work soon! Janet

jt's clarion cohort said...

Hi Julia - Thanks for you comments. We have a real problem with our high school students and plagiarism. In fact, we have had approximately 12 seniors receive a grade of zero along with a suspension for issues surrounding their summer reading assignments. It's kind of sad. Janet

jt's clarion cohort said...

Jamie - My first comments were addressed to your blog; however, since I didn't use your name, there is nothing to identify it with. Janet

jt's clarion cohort said...

Thank you Library Girl! You are correct, with sophisticated services like Turnitin.com, students will suffer the consequences related to plagiarism issues with greater frequency. I'm glad you recognize the importance so, hopefully, the teachers involved will learn from your lead! Janet

Jenn said...

I think that this blog is very helpful. I will use the information to help me with the research paper, which I am going to have to write later in the year. I also use easybib when I need to cite something and it's a very good website. I will also try and use the other websites listed, as well as the great information!

Dan Park said...

Thanks a lot for the information we should know. I learned the importance of citation, and the meaning of the term, "plagiarism." It's not right to take someone's work without any notice. I will refer to this blog when i need any help in citation for research paper or any other projects.

jt's clarion cohort said...

Hi Jenn!
Thanks for contributing to my blog. I am hoping that others will find it helpful when we begin the research paper. We may even start that as early as next week! Have a wonderful 4 day weekend. Mrs. T.

jt's clarion cohort said...

Hi Dan!
I am so happy that you were able to visit my blog. I am hoping that we can use some of the information when we begin the research paper next week! Have a nice 4 day vacation, Mrs. T.

loudlibrarian said...

Thanks so much!!! I will refer this blog to my students.

jt's clarion cohort said...

Loud Librarian - Thanks for your comments! I hope that they find it useful. Janet

LeeAnn said...

Thanks Janet! Your information is very helpful.

jt's clarion cohort said...

Thanks for your comments, LeeAnn! Janet

Cloudscome said...

Janet you did a really great job on this! Very helpful and clear information. Important topic too! Thanks for the links.

propanebob421 said...

This will be very useful when I start my research paper. It not only tell yours why and how you cite sources, but it also gives you websites to use to help you with formating. This can be confusing because there are so many rules to follow when citing. This will certainly help anyone who is about to start writing a research paper.

propanebob421 said...

That last comment was mine, but I forgot to put my name on it.


Philip Campbell

jt's clarion cohort said...

Cloudscome - Thanks for your comments. Janet

jt's clarion cohort said...

Thank you for your kind comments, Philip! Mrs. T.

J. Urick said...

Janet,

Isn't this a frustrating task for high school students! I teach 10th grade English and their first essay was a persuasive one. I required them to do research on their topic and some of them just didn't understand why you had to do research in the first place! Ahhh! Also, getting the citations in the correct format is confusing as well. But the biggest problem they had was doing the in-text citations. They didn't know they needed those in the essay as well and I had to explain over and over why. I usually tell my students that I really don't want any direct quotes in an essay; I'd like it to me their own paraphrasing and writing for the most part. I think I might make a blog for my students to look at!

Jessica

jt's clarion cohort said...

Thanks for your comments, Jessica. I hope it helps with your class. Good luck, Janet

bridget2112 said...

Your website is great! You have wonderful information regarding citing information and I found it very informative. This will come in handy when we write our research papers at the end of the year. Its sad how many seniors don't know about plagarism and how many still do it. Thank you!

Bridget Kernan

jt's clarion cohort said...

Thanks, Bridget. If I don't remember your extra credit, remind me because I am going away this weekend. I hope it does help, Mrs. T.

anthony said...

Mrs. T,

Your information is really helpful for my research paper. The websites listed are all really helpful and useful for how to do citations and everything. Every student should use this if they are trying to get a good grade on their research paper. Thanks.

Anthony Montefusco

Miguel said...

Mrs. T

Your the best in the world for making this blog thingy. Im sure once I start writing my paper it will help significantly. You da best Mrs. T.

Mike McKenty

andy said...

i believe that this site will help me a lot with my research paper and other papers i write in the future

andy stiles

jt's clarion cohort said...

Andy - Thanks for your comments. Good luck with the research paper. Mrs. T.

jt's clarion cohort said...

Miguel (Mike) - Thanks for your comments. Good luck with the research paper. Mrs. T.

jt's clarion cohort said...

Anthony - Thanks for your comments. Good luck with the research paper. Mrs. T.

Michela said...

Hey mrs. T! Your blog is awesome! the citation links are helpful for this research paper!

jt's clarion cohort said...

Michela - Thanks for our comments, and enjoy your college search. I'll post extra credit for your entry. Your mom should also receive an email with some research information for your paper so I hope this helps also.
Mrs. T.