All research is built upon prior research.
As you conduct research, you are building on the research of previous researchers. When you use the research of others, you need to give them credit by stating what information you are borrowing and where it is from. This includes facts, opinions, ideas and quotations. When you do not properly give credit for information you have used, it is considered plagiarism. A good research paper will synthesize (blend), previous researcher’s facts, opinions, ideas and quotations along with your own ideas and words. This makes your research unique.
Plagiarism is derived from the Latin word plagiarius which means kidnapper. Plagiarism means stealing another’s words and/or ideas. It can be a legal offense depending on the copyright infringement but it is always an ethical offense.
See SHUSD Academic Honesty Policy for more information on how plagiarism is handled in Saint Helena Unified District’s schools.
There are different styles for documenting sources used for research such as MLA, APA, and Chicago. Different academic fields (sciences, social sciences, etc.) use different styles. Most styles require the same information but the order and format is different.
MLA is the style used in the Saint Helena Unified School District. MLA (Modern Language Association) is most common in the humanities. MLA is considered an “in-text” citation style which means that you give some information directly after the quotation, called parenthetical citation, and leave the remainder of information for a Works Cited page, an alphabetical list of works at the end of a paper. MLA citation or parenthetical citation gives only enough information in the paper to refer the reader to the Works Cited page.
If you use information from or refer to online images, video clips, sounds and other multimedia formats in your research paper, you will need to cite using MLA style as well.
When citing sources, it is very important that you learn what information is required both in the parenthetical citation and the works cited page. Your school library will have an MLA Handbook for your reference.
Many online databases, encyclopedias and citation generators will automatically create a citation for the source you are using. You simply need to choose the style. Proceed cautiously because you most likely will have to add information to the citation such as the library or organization that is subscribing to the database.
Smith, John. “Alternative Transportation.” Worldbook. 2005.
WorldbookOnline. Saint Helena Unified School District, Saint Helena.
CA. 18 Nov. 2007
Rodriguez, Martin. “Driving Away from Oil.” New York Times14 May 2007:
2. Ebscohost. Ebsco. Saint Helena Public Library, Saint Helena, CA. 19 Nov. 2007
It is not necessary to cite or document common knowledge, familiar proverbs, and well-know quotations. If in doubt, cite your source.
RLS Library Catalog
St Helena Public Library