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The waters of plagiarism and source-citation are not as murky as you think. Navigate them safely with these tools.
Last Updated: Aug 26, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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APA Style

APA style refers to the rules set down by the American Psychological Association for how research articles submitted to its publications should be written and formatted. Many colleges and universities require students to use APA style for research papers, especially in social and behavioral sciences. It is one of two styles used in academic classes at COA.

The official rulebook for APA style is the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition, which is available in a print edition for use at either COA library. Other resources that discuss APA style are available on the web. Below are some of the best links to us

  • Purdue OWL on APA Style
    Arguably the best discussion of academic writing issues that you will find for free on the web is done by the Purdue University Online Writing Lab. This link gets you right to the section on APA. There the APA Overview and Workshop link gets you plenty of background for those who want a full understanding. The APA Formatting and Style Guide link gives you quick rules and examples that help you get your citations right.
  • Basics of APA Style
    Straight from the horse's mouth, this 21-minute slide presentation is APA's own introduction to its rules designed for people who have never used the style before. You will find other resources on APA's website, although some of them require a fee.

Chicago/Turabian Style

History courses at COA use Turabian style, a modified version of the more-detailed Chicago style. Its rules are outlined in A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations by Kate L. Turabian.


Thanks ...

.. to Rutgers University, Purdue University and Scottsdale Community College in Arizona for providing links and/or allowing us to use their material in this guide.


Rutgers Plagiarism Tutorial

This short, three-part video provides an excellent introduction to what does and does not constitute plagiarism. Be sure to watch all segments and take the quiz at the end to ensure you have the basic concepts down. Thanks to the Paul Robeson Library at Rutgers University-Camden for granting permission to link to the video.

 Rutgers Plagiarism Tutorial


Why Should I Care about Academic Integrity?

Here is our own take on the question, along with a short discussion about types of plagiarism. Only three pages!

Why Does Society Care about Academic Integrity?

No, plagiarism is not an issue dreamed up to make undergraduates' lives more difficult. Below are some people who have had brushes with plagiarism. Follow the links to find out what happened.


COA Plagiarism/Cheating Policy

Here are the college's official statements regarding academic integrity, plagiarism and cheating:


Check with Your Instructor

Some instructors may have additional or specialized requirements for your citations. For example, while MLA 2009 format does not require you to include the full URL in your citation of an electronic resource, some instructors prefer that you do. Check your syllabus or seek confirmation from your classmates or instructor before finishing your final draft.


MLA Style

MLA style refers to the rules set down by the Modern Language Association for how research articles submitted to its publications should be written and formatted. Instructors and professors tend to require MLA style for research papers in the humanities, most notably literature. It is one of two styles used in academic classes at COA.

MLA's official rules appear in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th Edition. You can find a print copy for use at either COA library. You can also find other explanations of MLA style on the web. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Purdue OWL on MLA Style
    The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University discusses all aspects of academic writing on its website. The link below leads to the section on MLA style. Go to MLA Overview and Workshop for a broad discussion of the system. Use the Formatting and Style Guide link for quick look-ups of specific rules or how to cite a certain type of source.
  • MLA Handbook
    No, it's not free. But at $22 the MLA Handbook (2009) is a good investment if you plan to continue study in the humanities. Unlike textbooks, you will use it again and again. Every copy comes with a code that lets you access the online version of the book, which will quicken the time you spend looking things up.

Quick Tips

You can get help with your citations in Microsoft Word 2007 or 2010 by using the "Manage Sources" function under the References tab. Enter bibliographic information as you draft your paper. Then you can insert citations into the text and generate a Works Cited list at the end. However, take care that the source manager is set to the right style for your assignment and check the citations when you are done.


Watch Out!

Getting help with your citations from Microsoft Word or certain online resources is great, but such tools do not always get it right. Take time to double-check your citations against a style sheet like the ones listed in the sidebar boxes for APA and MLA. Pay attention to those pesky punctuation marks!



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