General Guidelines for Acknowledging Sources



(To see examples of proper citation and referencing)

Whenever you write a paper or any piece of writing, you rely to some extent on other people's ideas. You must always acknowledge when you have used others' ideas, whether you quote from another's work directly, or paraphrase words, or simply take someone's ideas and advice into consideration. As the Student Handbook indicates on pages 53-55, you must acknowledge even help you receive from other students who provide "tutorial assistance." To do otherwise constitutes plagiarism and requires your instructor to send your name to the Sub-Committee on Academic Dishonesty of the Committee on Academic Standing for judgment.

To avoid these problems, always cite your sources. For instance, indicate in a footnote to the title of your paper (either at the end of your paper or at the bottom of the title page) what advice you have received from individuals. You might write: "I would like to thank Jane Smith for her advice on Blau's argument and Betty Moffett in the Writing Lab for her advice on grammar, organization, and style." Look at any recent article in the American Sociological Review for examples of such acknowledgments.

Other help you receive probably comes from published sources, for which standard referencing styles have been developed. We suggest that you use the current style found in most sociological journals. We provide below an example of the style you should use in this course, with annotations to help explain what each citation involves. For more examples, you should look at the reference style sheet found in the first issue of every volume of the American Sociological Review.

In general, quote as little as possible. One key term is better than a phrase and a short phrase is better than an entire sentence. Long quotations simply show that you cannot synthesize. If you do need to use a short quote, use the format indicated in the style sheet. If you use a quote longer than three typed lines (something you rarely need to do, especially in a short paper), then use single-spacing, with no quotation marks, and indent the quote five spaces on the left side of the page (to indicate that you are quoting). The author's name, the year of publication, and page numbers (all in parentheses) will follow the quote after the final period.


Examples of Proper Citation and Referencing

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Page last modified February 11, 2000 by Kent McClelland