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When writing a paper or thesis you are bound by the principles of academic integrity. There are strict rules concerning plagiarism. Citing your sources right is important to prevent plagiarism. But how do you read a reference and how to cite right?

How to avoid plagiarism

In its most elementary definition plagiarism is taking someone else’s work, words or ideas, and presenting it as your own. If you refer to or paraphrase another’s work, you need to cite them. The main stumbling block seems to be the question when to cite. When something is considered common knowledge you do not need to cite. 

Cite Them Right Online is a comprehensive guide to referencing just about any source. The emphasis is on known citation styles, such as APA, Chicago, Harvard and Vancouver. 

In this tutorial you learn about integrity at Leiden University and how to prevent plagiarism.

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In this tutorial you learn how to recognize different components of a citation (source: Maastricht University).

Complete the tutorial up to the quiz

It is not necessary to collect the sources you used manually. Instead, you can use reference managers (like EndNote, Mendeley, Zotero) to organise your sources from the start. This way you can easily cite them later. You can use a reference manager to save literature, cite and to save notes. You can export the bibliographic data from Google Scholar, the catalogue and other databases.

Learn more about reference managers in our tutorial.

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If you are stuck or need more support have a look at Leiden University’s tips for good academic writing or make an appointment at the Writing Lab. Be aware that your first draft does not have to be perfect yet.
These tutorials can help you with writing:

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