Of its very nature, a research paper or project builds on the thoughts and work of others. It is appropriate to use this work but only with proper attribution to its source.
The MLA Handbook states "Forms of plagiarism include the failure to give appropriate acknowledgment:
while repeating another's wording or particularly apt phrase,
when presenting another's line of thinking” (30).
Do NOT cite common knowledge.
DO cite information and ideas that are not yours — whether quoted directly or paraphrased. A rule of thumb for citations is: if you are using more than 6 words in a row from a source, cite the source. The MLA Handbook states "you must indicate the source of any appropriated material that readers might otherwise mistake for your own. If you have any doubt about whether or not you are committing plagiarism, cite your source or sources” (33). It is NOT true that only direct quotations need to be cited. Paraphrases of information and ideas that you are "borrowing" must also be cited.
If several consecutive sentences in your paper paraphrase information from or the ideas in a single source, you can cite the source at the end of your last sentence on this material. However, this does NOT mean you can construct your paper essentially by copying and pasting from documents on the web, paragraph by paragraph, even if you cite the source at the end of each paragraph in your paper and even if you do some minor rewording. This is plagiarism. Such a paper is essentially the work of others, and not your work. (The only appropriate way to copy a large amount of material into your paper is to indent it — which implies a direct quote — and cite the source at the end. Long direct quotes should be very few in number, and you should have a good reason for using a long direct quote.)
Cite or document a source within the text by giving a reader only enough information to find the source in the bibliography or works cited list. The most common citation contains only the last name of the author and the page number, e.g., (Kahn 43). If the author's name appears within the text of the paragraph, only the page number is needed. All citations are placed in parentheses. This is an easier alternative than footnotes.
Links to Documents Describing Plagiarism:
Go to the La Salle Library web page summary of plagiarism found at http://www.lasalle.edu/library/plagiarism.htm. Another fine source is Plagiarism: What It Is and How to Recognize and Avoid It (http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/wts/plagiarism.html) from Indiana University. This document includes good examples of paraphrasing a source (which should be used instead of direct quotation in most cases) and citing it correctly, as well as examples of plagiarism.
Please review and sign the Plagiarism form.