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E. H. Butler Library, Buffalo State, The State University of New York

International Students: Avoiding Plagiarism


When in doubt, cite!

There are two main reasons you must cite the sources you have used in your research.     

1.  To avoid plagiarism. If you quote or re-state in your own words ideas, facts, opinions, or quotations from another source, you must give credit to the original source.  

2.  To help other researchers. Providing a complete list of the works you have cited allows others to locate those sources. When you incorporate another person's words or ideas into your paper, you must cite them. You don’t need to cite generally-known facts that can be found in numerous places and are known by many people.  


Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else's words or ideas as your own without giving credit to the source. Plagiarism is cheating. It is fine to quote someone or express ideas that are not your own. The important thing to remember is that you must give credit to the source. You have plagiarized when...

  • You turn in someone else's paper or essay as your own.
  • You copy sections from a journal article without properly citing the source.
  • You copy and paste sections from a web page into your paper without properly citing the source
  • You express the ideas of another author and pretend they are your own original ideas.

Plagiarism is stealing. Here are ways to avoid it...

  • Take accurate notes when you are doing research.
  • Write down the complete citation for each item you might use. If you have made copies of journal articles, book chapters, or other materials, be sure that the author, title, subtitle, date, and all the other necessary citation information is on the photocopy. If you aren't sure what information is needed for a citation, check the citation style you will be using.
  • Follow a style guide (APA, MLA, Chicago) when you are writing your paper to properly credit your sources.
  • Buffalo State has purchased a campus-wide license, a web-based service that instructors and students may use to deter and detect plagiarism. Your instructor may utilize this service for source verification of student papers.

Creating a Bibliography

A bibliography, sometimes called works citedor references, is a list of all the information sources you used in your research. Each item in a bibliography (called a bibliographic citation or citation) follows a specific format to ensure consistency and clear communication. A bibliography is placed at the end of your research paper.

An annotated bibliography includes a descriptive and/or evaluative summary of each resource listed in your bibliography. Annotated bibliographies help the reader to know the accuracy, relevance, and quality of the source. Annotations are written in paragraph format and there are three main types:

  • Summary: This annotation style includes the topic of the book or article and its main arguments. Most summary annotations are about 150 words or less. Depending on your assignment, you may have to write a longer, more detailed summary.
  • Evaluative: This annotation style includes an evaluation of the source. Here are some examples of questions to consider: What are the author's qualifications? Who is the intended audience? Does the article or book adequately address the topic? Is there a bias to the writing?
  • Combination: Many annotations include a summary and an evaluation of the source.


Creating a Bibliography

Although creating the bibliography is usually the last step in writing a paper, you must keep careful records throughout the research process so that you can properly document your sources. 

When you are ready to compile your bibliography, follow these steps.

1.  Determine the type of source you need to cite:  Is it a journal article, book, video, website?

2.  Find the section in the manual that describes how to cite that type of material. Try to match the information you have with the correct example.

3.  Follow the spacing, punctuation, underlining, and capitalization given in the examples. The details make a difference!

4.  For additional assistance, check out quick links for citation help box on the right which offers helpful resources including citation tools such as Mendeley and the Citation Machine. Mendeley seamlessly captures citations from the library’s databases and the web, allowing you to store and manage your research from anywhere online. Once you create an account, make sure you check out all of the great tutorials and help guides available here. Creating bibliographies has never been this easy! Questions? Stop by the Research Help Desk located in the library’s lower lobby.

Writing Help

The Writing Center, a service of the Information Commons in partnership with the College Writing Program, is available in Butler Library to assist students with writing and composition of all kinds.  Writing and citation help is also available through the Academic Skills Center on the third floor of South Wing, and the EOP Tutoring Center on the seventh floor of South Wing. For more information, please ask at the Research Desk.

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