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Education Research (Master's)

Learning Objectives

  • Students will discover the reasons behind scholarly citation in order to become a responsible researcher.
  • Students will identify common ways of plagiarism in order to avoid plagiarism within their own work.
  • Students will recognize resources that can be consulted in order to write papers within the APA style.

Ethical Use of Information

As a responsible researcher, make ethical use of information.

A. Respect intellectual property

1. Copyright law protects (1) literary works; (2) musical works, including any accompanying words; (3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music; (4) pantomimes and choreographic works; (5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works; (6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works; (7) sound recordings; and (8) architectural works. 

  • Categories are interpreted broadly, so computer programs may be registered as literary works.
  • Copyright is automatic. Absence of a copyright mark or statement does NOT mean that an item is not copyrighted.
  • Copyright owners have exclusive rights of reproduction, adaptation, distribution, public performance and display.

2. As original work that is fixed in a tangible medium, material on the Web is protected. It is illegal to grab an image off someone else's web page and put it on your web page without the permission of the copyright owner.

3. For educational purposes, some uses of copyrighted material are allowed. In general, you can use only a small part of another's work and must give credit to the source.

  • Document where your information is coming from. When using other people's words, put quotes around the words and cite your source.
  • When paraphrasing other people's words, cite that source.
  • When you've borrowed an idea from someone else, cite them.
  • For help with citing sources, see APA Citation Style Help below.

B. Why cite?

1. To give credit to those whose work you have used (whether by direct quote or by paraphrasing). Academic ethics require that writers be credited for their work and their writing. If you intentionally or unintentionally use the work of another without giving proper credit, you have plagiarized.

2. To provide evidence to support what you are saying.
A good bibliography of high-quality material demonstrates that your project is based on credible evidence. When well-integrated into your paper (or project), that evidence creates a strong and convincing paper or project. If your work is based on poor evidence, the credibility of your project is undermined.

3. To allow your readers to find and read your sources.
Professionals often trace back to the original sources to expand their own understanding and to use those sources in their own research.

C. Why a specific citation style?

1. Using a consistent style in a bibliography (or reference list) lets the reader know where in the citation to expect to find a title, where to expect to find an author, etc -- without actually labeling the parts of the citation. It makes it easier for your readers to understand your citations and find the sources you have cited.

2. Although a variety of citation styles exist, each academic discipline will usually use a specific style. By using a single style such as APA or IEEE, a profession's readers are familiar with the style and understand how to read and interpret it.

D. What do I need to know?

1. How to cite sources within the body of the paper

2. How to create a list of sources cited in your paper -- the "bibliography" or list of "references."

Types of Plagiarism

Plagiarism isn't always intentional. Often, it happens accidentally through improper citation.

Here are some common types of plagiarism:

  • directly copy someone else's words and use them as if they were your own
  • re-use your own work
  • mix words, phrases, or ideas from uncited sources with your own words
  • mix words, phrases, or ideas from cited sources with uncited sources
  • rewrite, or paraphrase, someone else's work without proper credit
  • incorrectly or only partially credit a source
  • cite the wrong source

The best method to avoid plagirism is to properly cite and credit the work of others.

APA Citation Style Help

The sources listed below provide assistance and examples of the APA style.

I. Best STARTING POINT on the Web for citation examples:

A.  Using APA Format (by Purdue University's Writing Lab).
Includes both textual and electronic examples.

II. From APA itself!

A. APA Website: APA Style Help, by APA.
APA provides provides a free tutorial "The Basics of APA Style" and an FAQ.

III. Additional citation examples if needed:

A.  How to Cite Something You Found on a Website in APA Style, by Chelsea Lee.

Karl E. Mundt Library, Dakota State University, Madison, South Dakota 57042