How to Properly Use Sources in Assignments

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.

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).

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.

For the consequences at Lincoln Land Community College, please refer to LLCC Board Policy 4.13 regarding academic integrity.

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.

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. View a handout with a detailed explanation on self-plagiarism, also called dovetailing.

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. View a practice exercise on paraphrasing.

LLCC Resources:

Note: Students are encouraged to meet with our LLCC Writing Center staff or with an academic success professional for individual help with paraphrasing, preventing plagiarism and writing correct citations. Please call for appointments: 217-786-2341 (Writing Center) or 217-786-2396 (academic success professional).

Additional information on how to properly use sources: