Writing English compositions is a fundamental part of college academics in the U.S. In most classes, students can expect to have to write a paragraph or an essay at some point. Just like exams, instructors use a student’s writing to evaluate his or her knowledge about a particular topic. When grading an essay they do not simply look at how clearly a student expresses their ideas, they also make sure that the ideas are authentic. This means that students must avoid plagiarism.
Plagiarism is using someone else’s ideas or written words without acknowledging where they come from or using another writer’s words without quoting or paraphrasing. Turning in a paper written by someone else, copying or rewording a text without saying where the information was taken from are examples. Universities and colleges in the U.S. take this offense very seriously and often take harsh punitive measures on plagiarizers. Instructors will not give students credit for a ...view middle of the document...
If a writer wants to quote the exact population of Colombia or give a statistic of how many hours a day Colombians spend on their online social networks, they have to tell readers what census or scientific study they got this information from. This is done for a number of important reasons.
The first reason people cite source is that it gives a writer’s work credibility. If a reader sees that a writer got their facts from an established authority on the subject, it gives the writers composition
more strength. This becomes greatly important when writing a persuasive, argumentative or research essay. The next reason has to do with ethics and law. Using some ones ideas or words without acknowledging them is the same as stealing in the U.S. and it is against the law. People can take legal action against those who plagiarize. If, for example, an author sees that someone has used their work and not properly cited it, they can sue the person who did that. The final reason is related to academic decency. In the academic community, citing a source gives readers an opportunity to find out more about a particular topic. If a writer cites facts from a book, a reader may be curious want to read the entire work. Properly citing the source makes this more convenient.
There are formalized ways of citing sources, both in the composition and at the end of a composition. Citing work at the end is called a bibliography. The most commonly used in universities are the Modern Language Association, or MLA, the American Psychology Association, or APA, and Turbanian. Each format style has its own particular way to cite an author or work in text as well as making a bibliography. Which one to use will depend on the instructor and the subject. The important thing is that students are consistent, that is, using the same format style for the entire essay. There are reference books and websites that give instructions on how to use each format for various mediums like books, newspapers and websites, even things like radio shows and documentaries. If a student is unsure about whether or not something needs to be cited, they should speak with the professor or cite it anyway. It is better to get it clarified or cite it unnecessarily than to be considered plagiarizing.