When it comes to course works and other academic projects, plagiarism is a very serious matter and because of this, you need to know how to do your citations properly. Keep in mind, whether you plagiarise intentionally or not, you will have to deal with the same penalties. In light of this, here are some useful methods you could apply to ensure that you cite correctly.
1. Record All Your Sources Stacking journals, books, newspapers and other printed material on your desk makes it easy to keep track of such sources as you proceed with your project. Likewise, when it comes to web material, you need to print or create a record of those sites so you don’t bump into challenges when you need to refer back. If you include URLS in your citations though, be sure to confirm that they do not direct the reader to a nonexistent site.
2. Make Use of Citation Management Software In the past, the only way one could get citation formats right was by sifting through piles of dusty manuals. Luckily, things have become much easier nowadays and all you need to do is to find the right software, and you will create a good bibliography in an instant. Some of the applications you can use for this purpose include:
• Bibme -In using this software, you simply need to key in information on the title, author, publisher and other relevant details and once you do, you will have your citation developed in the format you desire(Turabian ,Chicago MLA, APA among others). The application can also auto fill and is free and easy to use.
• Zetero -This app makes providing good citation an easy job. It incorporates a lot of useful features and is accessible directly from the web browser. You can use Zetero to create bibliographies, in text citations, endnotes and footnotes. Like Bibme, this application is also free.
• MyBib -This is an application designed for iOS and in using it, you need to provide an ISBN (manually or using a barcode scanner) after which all the other relevant details will be added automatically. MyBib is also a very useful tool if you need to track the websites you have visited.
3. Take Notes during Research When you are doing research for your thesis or even a postgrad presentation , it’s very important to take notes as this will help you follow up on pertinent information and keep you from missing important details. Tools such as Refworks, Zetero, and Endnote can allow you to keep notes regarding online sources; so, if you prefer not to write them down yourself, you can take advantage of such applications.
4. Cite Your Own Material As you handle a project, you may at times find areas connected to something you have dealt with in a previous assignment. In such cases, you can use that information, and then cite it the same you would with material obtained from a different author. Bear in mind, you may be penalised for self plagiarism even when you include your own material without adhering to the citation rules.
5. Only Cite Texts You Have Used The idea behind citation is not just to support your argument, but to also show that the work you have come up with is indeed yours. Thus, as long as you use another writer’s words, you have to cite it. Still, you should only give sources that you have actually used. Including those you have not referred to just to give the impression of in-depth research amounts to academic fraud for which you could also be penalised.
Regardless of the programme you are enrolled for, following these simple tips, can help you cite better and faster. Still, whenever you are in doubt about any issue, it’s best to consult your professor so you do not unknowingly commit a plagiarism related offence.
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