Plagiarism, even if it is unintentional, can cause you to fail your class or to be kicked out of college completely. Plagiarism is much more than buying a paper online or outright copying and pasting someone else’s text. If you use any work that belongs to someone else, including ideas, without giving the proper credit, you are guilty of plagiarism. To protect yourself, you must be properly cite all of your sources. While creating formal citations can be time consuming and stressful, there are many great online tools that can make creating citations easy. Try these:
Created by David Warlick, education blogger, Citation Machine helps people respect the intellectual property of others by properly citing all sources. This great tool provides citations in MLA, APA, Chicago, and Turabian styles quickly and easily. Simply choose the type of material you are citing, fill in the blanks, and voila! You have a perfectly formatted citation.
EasyBib is another excellent resource for creating citations for your projects and papers. The tool will allow you to create MLA citations for free. For a small fee, you can buy membership, which allows you to create citations in APA and Chicago/Turabian style as well. EasyBib lives up to its name with an unrivalled ease of use. Simply choose the type of source you are using and enter the web address, ISBN number, etc. to get a perfectly formatted citation every time.
If you would prefer to learn how to create citations manually, there are a great number of style guides available for free online. These guides will show you detailed examples of how to cite any type of source, complete with proper formatting. While it is easier to use a citation generator, many people prefer to learn the principles behind citations. If you are one of these students, these style guides can be a true lifesaver.
Properly citing your sources can protect you from committing plagiarism and can show your seriousness about your academic success. As a good rule of thumb, cite everything you use from someone else. While taking the ideas and materials of others and combining them into a unique work is a major part of the college experience, you still must give credit to those who created the materials you referenced.