Citing Sources In An Essay
For instance, a popular magazine article on junk food addiction might be several steps removed from the original scientific study on which it is loosely based.
As a result, the article may distort, sensationalize, or misinterpret the scientists’ findings.
Because he was relying on secondary sources to support his ideas, he made a point of citing sources that were not far removed from primary research.
Tip Some sources could be considered primary or secondary sources, depending on the writer’s purpose for using them.
For instance, if a writer’s purpose is to inform readers about how the American No Child Left Behind legislation has affected elementary education in the United States, a magazine article on the subject would be a secondary source.
However, suppose the writer’s purpose is to analyze how the news media has portrayed the effects of the No Child Left Behind legislation.
Recall that primary sources present firsthand information.
Secondary sources are one step removed from primary sources.
Any of these actions can create the appearance of plagiarism and lead to negative consequences.
Avoiding Plagiarism Your research paper presents your thinking about a topic, supported and developed by other people’s ideas and information.
It is crucial to always distinguish between the two—as you conduct research, as you plan your paper, and as you write. Intentional and Accidental Plagiarism Plagiarism is the act of misrepresenting someone else’s work as your own.
As much as possible, use secondary sources that are closely linked to primary research, such as a journal article presenting the results of the authors’ scientific study or a book that cites interviews and case studies.
These sources are more reliable and add more value to your paper than sources that are further removed from primary research.