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How To Use Sources Properly

The following pages contain information on the different forms of plagiarism, proper selection and use of scholarly sources, and links to helpful websites.

Discipline Specific Rules and Conventions

Used with permission of the Aurora Learning Community Association.

Just as the appropriate citation style varies from one subject to the next, there are also certain differences from one discipline to another concerning the proper use of sources. While all disciplines agree on the cases discussed so far, and especially about plagiarism, there are other conventions that vary from one class to the next.

Here is an example: in a biology paper, it would not generally be appropriate to quote at length (e.g., a sentence or more) directly from another author; rather, one should cite the source of the idea and present it in one’s own words. In a philosophy paper, such a quotation would be perfectly appropriate. In some disciplines, it would be improper to consult and cite review articles or unpublished working papers; in others, it would not be. Your professors will help you learn about the expectations and conventions of a particular field, but make sure that you ask questions whenever you are in doubt.

The SAW Program provides advice on writing in the following disciplines:

Writing in the Humanities

Writing in the Social Sciences

How to Write a Science Lab Report

MHC Accessibility Barriers Form