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Universiteitsbibliotheek – LibGuides

Training ISS premaster Academic Skills: Refer to your sources / plagiarism

Refer to your sources and plagiarism

When writing a thesis or paper you almost always use the work of others. It is important to always and correctly refer to the sources that you use.

The reuse of material without acknowledgment of the source is called plagiarism.
It is permitted by law to quote parts of texts without it being seen as plagiarism, provided that you do so with a correct reference to the source.

Reference management

It is very useful to have a place where you can store all your literature (including full text if available) together. There are various so-called literature management systems that support you in this.

Examples are EndNote, Refworks, Mendeley and Zotero. These systems can also be very useful for (automatic) creation of references in the text and reference lists. Good reference management helps you to work more efficiently and effectively.

You can find more information in the LibGuide  Reference management.

What is plagiarism and how to avoid it?

Watch this video from the University of Bolton (3 min.)
See also the UU studentsite

Note: The UU uses Urkund to check on plagiarism

Quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing

Quoting is to copy verbatim from a text in a publication. When you literally copy text from a source, you call this a quote. Quoting is allowed, provided that the following conditions are met:

  • The source is stated correctly
  • The quote is copied word for word (no translation)
  • Beginning and end of the citation are clearly indicated (for example using quotation marks)
  • The quote is relevant to your argument and is only a small part of your text. A quote is not meant just to embellish your publication.

When you put passages of the text of others into your own words, you call this paraphrasing. Here you try to retain the meaning of a passage from the original text without literally copying that text (as with quoting).

In paraphrasing it is very important that you use your own words to describe the ideas of others. Merely changing a few words, or the order of the sentence is not enough. This will be seen as plagiarism. In that case you can better copy the text word for word (=citing), followed by your own ideas.

A summary is a brief overview of the content of (part of) a source. Hereby you present the most important and relevant information from your source in your own words. A summary is usually much shorter than the original text.

Paraphrasing and summarizing are allowed, providing that you meet the following conditions:

  • state the source correctly
  • indicate clearly which part contains your own ideas and which is the part you have used.

5 tips to avoid plagiarism

5 tips to prevent plagiarism:

  1. Always refer to the sources that you have used and take the time to state them correctly and consistently
  2. Use quotes: clearly recognizable as a quote and including a correct reference
  3. Paraphrase: reformulate the text in your own way and try to avoid using the same words too much. Do this without changing the meaning of the idea itself. Also don't forget to refer to the original source here!
  4. Present your own thoughts and ideas. Prevent self-plagiarism, which can arise if you copy your own previous work!
  5. Use a plagiarism checker

Referring to your sources: APA style

Once you have found and used the correct literature, you must refer to your sources. For example, when you write a paper, refer in the text to the sources from which you obtained your information. You also always make a corresponding reference list in which all the sources you use can be found.

For scientists there are rules (citation styles) about how they should refer. At ISS we use the rules as drawn up by the American Psychological Association (APA). During your studies you must always refer according to this APA style.

The 7th edition has been released in October 2019 together with a new website and blog.
For a complete overview of the APA style please use the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition.

APA support from the American Psychological Association:

Other APA guides :