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Academic Integrity Tutorial

When do I cite?

You should cite in any of the following cases:

  • Direct quotations taken from sources–place quotation marks around direct quotes as you write them down.

  • Paraphrased ideas and opinions taken from someone else's work.

  • Summaries of ideas taken from someone else's work.

  • Factual information, including statistics or other data unless it is considered common knowledge.


The Exception: ​Common knowledge

When writing an essay, the only source material you do not have to cite is information that is considered common knowledge. Common knowledge generally refers to any well-established, uncontroversial fact about the world, or a fact that cannot be attributed to a single source. However, common knowledge does not necessarily mean that everyone knows it.


Common knowledge: 5 credible sources rule

A general rule is that you can consider information common knowledge if you can find that information uncredited in 5 credible sources. If you're not sure if something is common knowledge, it's better to be safe and cite it!

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License This guide is adapted from the Plagiarism Tutorial created by the University of Southern Mississippi. This work licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) 4.0 International License.

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