Throughout your university career you will be acquiring knowledge and expertise in a variety of academic disciplines. To demonstrate this process of acquisition and assimilation you will often be asked to reproduce, analyze, critique and discuss what you have learned in the form of a written paper or project. Writing such a paper will confront you with how to acknowledge the information that you have acquired in a form that is appropriate to the requirements of honest scholarship, in general, and the specific requirements that the course has for such a paper. You will have learned how to do the specific tasks of quotation, paraphrase and summary in your Writing Program classes and thus may have avoided the more obvious mistakes of plagiarism. However, often you will have to walk a fine line as to what constitutes “common knowledge” and which, therefore, does not need to be acknowledged, and what belongs to another person’s work, ideas or written style. The rule of thumb is “if in doubt, cite!” You don’t lose anything by citing the source properly and acknowledging the information you have taken from that source. With the increased availability of electronic sources, both visual and textual, it has become more difficult to distinguish between public and private ownership of certain kinds of material. However, you will be expected to be a responsible member of the intellectual community and you should acknowledge any sources whether print or electronic in a manner which conforms with the recognized rules of academic scholarship and the those set by your teachers in class.
Remember too, that your professor is there to help you. If you have any questions before submitting your paper or project, consult with the teacher of your class. Be specific when you ask because often general guidelines will not cover all possible eventualities.
If you are still in doubt, you can also consult a tutor at AUC's Mohamed Taymour Writing Center.
Or take this online tutorial at Indiana University testing you on your knowledge on the citation of sources in your work