Use a Style Manual to Cite Sources Correctly


Research ethics in the academic world demand that writers be credited for their work. If credit is not given whether intentionally or unintentionally, it is a serious violation of academic honesty called plagiarism. You are responsible to learn and understand the nature of plagiarism and how to avoid it.

The best resource for citation to use is the one recommended by your professor. There are many citation style guides online. But, these resources are not as complete as the print version. The library has a LibGuide for citation styles available online.

If you need assistance with citing sources or if you are concerned about whether or not you are plagiarizing, ask your instructor for assistance or you can submit a Douglas campus Ask a Librarian form or a Waycross campus Ask a Librarian form.

The college's policy on plagiarism is in the South Georgia State College Student Handbook.

Definition of Plagiarism

South Georgia College follows the Modern Language Association’s definition of “plagiarism”:

Derived from the Latin word plagiarius (“kidnapper”), plagiarism refers to a form of cheating that has been defined as “the false assumption of authorship: the wrongful act of taking the product of another person’s mind, and presenting it as one’s own” (Alexander Lindey, Plagiarism and Originality [New York: Harper, 1952 2). Plagiarism involves two kinds of wrongdoing. Using another person’s ideas, information, or expressions without acknowledging that person’s work constitutes intellectual theft. Passing off another person’s ideas, information, or expressions as your own to get a better grade or gain some other advantage constitutes fraud. Plagiarism is sometimes a moral and ethical offence rather than a legal one since some instances of plagiarism fall outside the scope of copyright infringement, a legal offence. Plagiarism is almost always seen as a shameful act, and plagiarists are usually regarded with pity and scorn. They are pitied because they have demonstrated their inability to develop and express their own thoughts. They are scorned because of their dishonesty and their willingness to deceive others for personal gain.  (Gibaldi 66)

The act and practice of plagiarism is not only sometimes criminally prosecutable but it is always a serious violation of academic honesty, and a shameful act of intellectual theft that deprives the plagiarist of an education.

Examples of plagiarism include:

  1. Any quotation, rewording, paraphrase, or summary of another person’s words, thoughts, ideas, opinions, or theories without appropriate acknowledgement.*
  2. The presentation in any form of another’s artistic, literary, scientific, or other creative work as one’s own.
  3. Allowing someone else to write one’s paper; copying, buying, or stealing either in part or in its entirety one’s paper from another source such as a book, an article, or the Internet.

*Appropriate acknowledgement includes, but is not limited to, quotation marks around quoted material and citation appropriate to the discipline. See the APA and MLA guidelines in the Hodges’ Harbrace Handbook (Glenn and Gray 552-650), available in the campus bookstore. The APA and MLA guidelines are also available in the online version of this document.

Faculty members reserve the right to add to these rules at their discretion. Any addition to the rules will be plainly stated in said faculty member’s syllabus and/or assignment instructions. Ignorance of these rules does not constitute innocence and is not an excuse for plagiarism.

Penalties for Plagiarism

For each act of plagiarism, the penalty shall be imposed by the instructor. Some violations may result in additional disciplinary actions imposed by the college, including expulsion.

Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New York: MLA, 2009. 66.

Glenn, Cheryl and Loretta Gray. Hodges’ Harbrace Handbook. 16th ed. Boston: Thomas Wadsworth, 2007. 552-650.