Citation Practices and Academic Integrity

Graduate Student Resource Center and administrators expect graduate students to be very familiar with academic citation practices. If you did not receive your prior education in the U.S., you will need to learn U.S. academic citation standards thoroughly.

You've probably heard about the dangers of plagiarism in previous writing or research instruction or in an orientation to UCLA (for international students). For information on UCLA's campus policies, see UCLA’s Academic Integrity policy and Student Conduct Code. Plagiarism can be intentional—such as copying someone else’s text into your paper and deliberately not indicating that someone else wrote it—or unintentional—such as paraphrasing or quoting someone else’s idea but forgetting to cite the source.

Avoiding unintentional plagiarism can be complicated. You have to know how and when to cite, quote, and paraphrase. (The latter can be especially difficult if you feel like the author said it best or if you have trouble putting it in your own words and syntax.) And, depending on where you grew up, where you went to school, and what teachers you studied with, you may be more or less familiar with these practices. To get a sense of the diversity of citation-teachings around the world, check out George Mason University’s “Written Accents: International Voices in the Academy,” especially the sections on plagiarism and originality.

To help you improve your citation practices, we’ve listed some resources below:

Comprehensive Resources
Exercises on Identifying Plagiarism
The Language of Citing
Citation Styles

Comprehensive Resources

Harris, R. (2004). Using sources effectively: Strengthening your writing and avoiding plagiarism (2nd ed.). Glendale, CA: Pyrczak Publishing. An invaluable book that helps you understand when to cite and what constitutes common knowledge; select sources and decide when to quote, paraphrase, or summarize; and integrate sources into your own writing.

Krause, Steven D. (2007). The process of research writing. Available at This free online textbook has chapters on “quoting, paraphrasing, and avoiding plagiarism” and on “citing your research using MLA or APA style.”

Avoiding Plagiarism—A collection of links compiled by the UCLA Library on what plagiarism is, strategies for avoiding it, and citation styles.

Plagiarism Prevention for Students—A well-designed site from California State University San Marcos. Contains information on issues surrounding plagiarism (e.g., paraphrase and common knowledge), how to avoid it, and how to credit sources. Each section contains a quiz with an answer key.

Using Sources—Information from the University of Toronto’s Advice on Academic Writing on avoiding plagiarism, documentation formats, using quotations, and using paraphrase and summary.

Avoiding Plagiarism—Information from the University of Purdue’s Online Writing Lab on identifying plagiarism (including a section on “challenges in American academic writing”), when to give credit, and best practices for researching and drafting papers.

Plagiarism—A handout from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Writing Center on what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.

Plagiarism Resources for law students—Resources on plagiarism in law school from Penn State School of Law.

Exercises on Identifying Plagiarism

Avoiding Plagiarism Exercise—This quiz, developed by Cardiff University, contains four questions that test your ability to identify what is wrong about one or more student summaries. An answer key is provided.

Self-Test: Identifying and Avoiding Plagiarism—This self-test, developed by David Gardner of the University of Hong Kong, asks you to read two source texts and then evaluate how well five students avoided plagiarism in their texts. Teacher comments on each text are provided.    

The Language of Citing

Verbs for Referring to Sources—This handout, part of the University of Toronto’s Advice on Academic Writing, explains how to use three different grammatical patterns involving reporting verbs, verbs that report what someone or something said. 

Citing Sources—This page, developed by Andy Gillet for his Using English for Academic Purposes site, focuses on the language of citing sources—reporting another’s ideas through paraphrase or summary, direct quoting, and referring to secondary sources.

Citation Styles

Citation Styles—This link will send you to our resources on the major styles and on your field’s citation style.

This page was created by Andrea Olinger. To suggest a resource or report a broken link, email the GWC at