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Using Information Sources Ethically and Legally

The guide is designed to help students maintain their academic integrity by using information sources ethically and legally.

When do I need to cite sources?

The purpose of the citation is to give credit for someone else's thoughts, words, or works, no matter in what form they come. Therefore you need to cite your sources, including personal interviews, any printed or digital media, TV and radio programs, etc. A brief list of what needs to be credited or documented is available at the OWL at Purdue.

All you need to know about citing sources

The online guide Citing Your Sources provides information on citation, style guides, citation tools, amd more.

Does EVERYTHING need to be cited?

The following chart from the UT Arlington Library Acknowledging Sources tutorial will guide you in your decision:

What is common knowledge? This refers to facts well known by many people and verifiable in five or more sources. Examples:

  • Bill Gates is the founder of the Microsoft Corporation.
  • There are 60 minutes in an hour.
  • Columbus is the capital of Ohio.
  • The whole is greater than the part.

If you have any doubts or questions, ask your professor or librarian.
Err on the side of caution: when in doubt, cite!

Play the game and test yourself

To test yourself play The Cite is Right game from Rutgers University Libraries.

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