Guideline for Citing Sources

Referring to Sources in the Text of Report

It is important to use high quality stable sources for information and cite them appropriately at the end of your paper or project.  However, it is also important to correctly refer to literature while writing the report.

Do Not Plagiarize

It is never right to take credit for the work that someone else created. Plagiarism and cheating are two sure ways to get a failing grade on this assignment, fail this class, and possibly get expelled from the university. Plagiarism will not be tolerated in the class. If you are struggling with what is or is not plagiarism or if you  just want to brush up on your knowledge of plagiarism, an excellent module was created for Information Literacy at the University of Idaho.

Avoid Direct Quotations

While using direct quotes is a way to avoid plagiarism, it is not appropriate to use direct quotations in technical writing unless the exact way something was stated or the person who said it was particularly important.

Do not use quotations for numbers and figures or simply to convey specific information. Restate the information and cite the source where you got the information.

Restate and Cite Source

Restate specific information and then cite the author(s) and year in parenthesis. Do not include page number, just author or authors and year.

  • Sagebrush density can increase in response to early season grazing (Laycock, 1967).
  • Fires spread at low intensity through lower amounts of biomass per unit area (Scott & Burgan, 2005).
  • A warming climate with earlier snowmelts contributes to a prolonged fire season with larger and more severe fires (Chambers & Pellant, 2008).

Use term “et al.” for more than 2 authors. The term “et al.” means “and others.” 

  • Climatic conditions and exotic plant invasion have altered fire frequency in sagebrush-dominated landscapes (Davies et al., 2011).
  •  The sage-grouse decline is associated with widespread loss or modification of sagebrush habitats (Aldridge et al., 2008)

If you use more than one reference to support your point, list references in chronological order:

  • Their rapid spread was exacerbated by excessive stocking rates and inappropriate grazing practices (Knapp, 1996; Young & Sparks, 2002; Chambers et al., 2007).
  • Livestock grazing occurs across much of the sagebrush could impact both the composition and structure of sage-grouse habitat (Beck & Mitchell, 2000; Crawford et al., 2004).

» Note that there is  common between the author and year.  Also, put a semi-colon between references if you are including more than o

Details, details:

» Number of authors is important:

  • 1 author = (Laycock, 1967)
  • 2 authors = (Young & Sparks, 2002)
  • More than 2 authors = (Crawford et al., 2004)

» An author can be an organization:

  • NIFC 2012 for:
  • USFWS 2010 for:
    • USFWS (United States Fish and Wildlife Service). (2010). Twelve-month findings for petitions to list the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) as threatened or endangered. Federal Register, 75, 13910-14014.

No First Names Please

APA format uses initials of first name and last names. No first names cited in text or in the Literature Cited section.  J.R. Vandal  not Joe Vandal.

Remember your Audience

  • Use metric units if your audience will understand hectares rather than acres.
  • Include scientific names of plants and animals only if your audience needs them. For example, does your audience know what cheatgrass is? Or, will it help them if you include Bromus tectorum in the sentence?
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