Search LLCCGo
LLCCLincoln Land Community College
Lincoln Land Community College
How to properly use sources in your assignments

Are you properly using sources in your assignments?

What is proper use of a source?
Proper use of a source means giving the source you used for information written credit for their intellectual property, thoughts or ideas.  If you didn't already know the information, but found it somewhere else (a book, online, or elsewhere,) that requires you to cite your source.  This can be done in a number of ways; please see the LLCC resources below for more information. 

What is improper use of a source? 
Improper use of a source means taking someone else's written work or ideas and claiming them as your own, without giving credit to that person.   Even if you get someone's verbal permission but do not give them written credit for their work, you are using that source improperly in your assignment.  (Using a source improperly is more commonly known as plagiarism, and this can be done knowingly or unknowingly by students). 

"But they say it so much better than I do!" 
This is a comment we hear frequently.  If this applies to you, the Writing Center staff suggests that you simply jot down your thoughts on a subject or topic before you do research.  

What are the consequences of improper use of a source (or plagiarism)? 
For the consequences at Lincoln Land Community College, please refer to LLCC Board Policy 4.13 regarding academic integrity. 

How do I avoid improper use of a source?
You can avoid improper use of a source in your assignments by giving correctly written credit to the author, organization, publisher, etc. where your information was found. 

Can I turn in a paper I've have already written for another class? What about using part of that paper?  It's my work, so doesn't that make it acceptable to use? 
Once you write a paper, you become an author.  In order to use your own work, you must cite your old paper or previous work correctly.  Otherwise, this is called self-plagiarism and it's viewed as being a serious offense on many college campuses today.  C.L. Lindsay III addresses the numerous types of plagiarism in his book The College Student's Guide to the Law.   Click here for a detailed explanation of self-plagiarism, also called dovetailing.  

My instructor says I should paraphrase.  What is paraphrasing and how do I do this?
Paraphrasing means to phrase what another has said in your own words.  You must still properly cite your resource!  Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (Purdue OWL) offers easily understood information about how to properly paraphrase without plagiarizing.  Click here for more information and a practice exercise on paraphrasing.

LLCC Resources:

Am I Plagiarizing?
APA Documentation Style
APA Sample Title Page
MLA Quick Reference Guide
MLA Documentation Style
MLA Sample Researched Essay
Steps in Writing a Research Paper
LLCC Library Reference Guides 
Print resources containing academic integrity information

LLCC Plagiarism Powerpoint 

Note: Students are encouraged to meet with our Writing Center staff or with an Academic Success Professional for individual help with paraphrasing, preventing plagiarism and writing correct citations.  Please call for appointments. 786-2341 (Writing Center) or 786-2396 (Academic Success Professional)  

Additional information on how to properly use sources can be found by clicking on the links below.  (Please note that these are non-LLCC sites).

http://www.mac.edu/cle/for_students.asp  (Scroll down to the Writing and Grammar section, click on "Plagiarism: What is it?" Adobe Acrobat File) 

C.L. Lindsay III lists the websites below as additional sources on plagiarism to examine: 

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/ (Purdue Online Writing Lab)

http://www.academicintegrity.org/ (Center for Academic Integrity)

http://www.plagiarism.org/ 

http://secureyourtrademark.com/preventing-plagiarism-and-copyright-and-trademark-infringement/ (Preventing Plagiarism, Copyright and Trademark Infringement)

Videos on plagiarism: 

    Plagiarism Definition

Changing some words but copying whole phrases  (A type of plagiarism)

How to cite sources and avoid plagiarism

Lincoln Land Community College