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Resources for International Students: Using Sources

What is a source?

A source is any piece of information you use when you write that is not from your own head/idea. 
A source is any piece of information you use to support one of your ideas.
Any source you use must be acknowledged/attributed:

  • Proper acknowledgement
  • Proper attribution/attributing sources
  • Documentation/documenting sources

Failure to acknowledge/attribute/document a source = plagiarism

  • Plagiarism: “taking the literary property of another, passing it off as one’s own without appropriate attribution, and reaping from its use any benefit from an academic institution.”

Why are Americans so fussy about acknowledging sources?

  • Americans view not acknowledging sources as STEALING

See Marta Baffy & Kirsten Schaetzel, Power point presentation: Using Sources in Papers (2020), available at [URL]

Formatting a Quotation

Use double quotation marks ( " " ) for quotes that are shorter than 50 words.

Use block quotations for quotes that are 50 words or longer. Indent on both sides and do NOT use quotation marks around block quotations. 

Use single quotation marks around a quotation within a quotation. 

Usually use a comma after the reporting verb if the quote is not very long

Usually use a colon after the reporting verb if quote is long and/or contains multiple sentences.

Usually use nothing if quote is integrated into the sentence with “that.” 

(He said that “In this case…”)

Capitalize the first letter of a direct quote when the quoted material is a complete sentence, but not when it is just a part of a sentence (a phrase or fragment). 

Periods and commas go inside the quotation mark.

Question marks go inside if they are part of the quoted matter and outside if they are not part of the quoted matter.
 

See Marta Baffy & Kirsten Schaetzel, Power point presentation: Using Sources in Papers (2020), available at [URL]

Using Sources

Citing your sources remains an incredibly important and key portion of the research process. The need to cite every source may be different from the process you used in your home country. It is your responsibility to know and use the process for citing sources that is mandatory at U.S. education institutions. And many of us at Emory Law are here to help you learn!

Familiarize yourself with the Emory Law Code of Conduct to better understand what is expected of you here at Emory Law.  It is important to note Section 3 in the Emory Law Code of Conduct, under "Academic Misconduct" reads:

"(3) Plagiarizing or plagiarism, which means using, intentionally or not, a written document or electronic record reflecting the ideas or words of another as one's own without proper attribution to the source of those ideas or words;"

Emory Law Professional Code of Conduct, March 2020, last revised July 2014,  https://law.emory.edu/_includes/documents/sections/academics/2014-professional-conduct-code.pdf  (last visited 10/20/2020).

You can learn more about plagiarism in this helpful LibGuide.     

For even more information about properly using sources, including examples, see Marta Baffy & Kirsten Schaetzel, Power point presentation: Using Sources in Papers (2020), included below. 

How to Use Sources in Papers

Quoting: copying from a source word for word (exact same language as the original)

  • Needs a footnote
  • Needs quotation marks

Paraphrasing: using the information in source material but putting it in your own words

  • Needs a footnote
  • Usually as long as the original; sometimes a little longer

Summarizing: using the main ideas of the source material and putting the main ideas in your own words

  • Needs a footnote
  • Shorter than the original

See Marta Baffy & Kirsten Schaetzel, Power point presentation: Using Sources in Papers (2020), available at [URL]

How to Quote

Let your reader know who you are quoting through a short, lead-in verb.

  • Billy notes "to avoid plagiarism, cite your sources."

Incorporate part of the quote into your complete sentence

  • For Billy citing sources was essential to "avoid plagiarism."

Use brackets ( [ ] ) to add words necessary for understanding the quotation.

Use ellipsis (...) to remove words that are not important to the quotation.

Always follow your quotation with one or more sentences that comment on it.

See Marta Baffy & Kirsten Schaetzel, Power point presentation: Using Sources in Papers (2020), available at [URL]

Footnotes vs. Endnotes

Footnotes are found in the bottom of each page of a paper. The bottom of the page is also called the "footer". 

Endnotes are found at the very end of a paper.

Both are considered to be effective citation tools, but cannot be used together. Papers will either have footnotes, or endnotes

How to Paraphrase

Change part of speech (verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc.)

  •  But be careful: you typically want strong verbs & you don’t want to sound verbose/awkward

 Characters should be subjects, and actions should be verbs

Replace words/phrases with synonyms

  •  But be careful: almost no 1-to-1 correspondence

Reverse negatives

Change word order

Change sentence connectors

  •  E.g., use independent markers instead of dependent markers or vice versa

Change text structure

  •  E.g., split up sentences or fuse them together

And remember - you may need to use more than one of these techniques!

See Marta Baffy & Kirsten Schaetzel, Power point presentation: Using Sources in Papers (2020), available at [URL]