Why do we use bibliographic standards like APA?
We use them so that our readers can easily find the sources to which we are referring; if that information were not given in a standardized format, we would all have great difficulty finding the sources on our own.
Most students who are serious learners do not deliberately set out to commit plagiarism just to fool professors or to steal the ideas of other scholars to sell for millions. Instead, students usually plagiarize unintentionally, as an act of desperation that reflects in an unsophisticated writing style and a lack of understanding of how to avoid it.
So we'll spare you the tired lecture about how copying a source word for word, buying or borrowing papers and cutting/pasting blocks of texts from the Internet is only cheating yourself. By now you have probably learned what plagiarism is and a few basic rules about avoiding it. You know about summarizing, using quotes, and citing sources properly. However, even students who know all of the rules sometimes encounter difficulties when they sit down to write. Developing a few essential skills will lead to a writing style that will automatically prevent plagiarizing.
Ultimately, avoiding plagiarism boils down to one essential skill: the ability to write and recognize a good paraphrase.
Use these basic guidelines when preparing your final draft:
Prefer white, 8-1/2 by 11-inch paper. Use 1-inch margins at top, bottom, left, and right (1 inch = 2.5cm).
Choose a clean, 12-point font like Times New Roman. Double-space the text throughout; do NOT justify.
Include a header on the top of every page. In the header, you should have a page number (align right) and a short version of your paper’s title in uppercase (align left).
Your paper should have 4 major sections:
Below is a link to a quick reference guide to basic citation rules (with examples, including citations for social media and general layout guidelines).
Print it out for easy reference. Paper copies are available on the Handout Rack in the Information Commons.