Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Academic Integrity

Use the following guide to learn more about academic integrity

Use Sources In Your Writing

It's important to learn how to use sources correctly in your academic writing in order to avoid plagiarism, a serious academic offence.    

Review this page to learn about using sources in your academic writing. ​​​​​​​If you have questions, ask your instructor, TA, or visit UTSC Writing Support

Take Careful Notes

Read critically and take careful notes:  As you take notes, make clear separations between others’ ideas and your comments, responses and analysis. Either take down exact quotations or put others’ ideas and information fully into your own words. Include citations with your notes, then incorporate these into your draft--that is create your citations while working on the assignment, not as a last step.

Why & What to Cite

Why cite:

What to cite:

  • Words or ideas presented in a magazine, book, newspaper, song, TV program, movie, website, computer program, letter, advertisement, or any other medium
  • Information you gain through interviewing or conversing with another person, face to face, over the phone, or in writing
  • When you copy the exact words or a unique phrase
  • When you reprint any diagrams, illustrations, charts, pictures, or other visual materials
  • When you reuse or repost any digital media, including images, audio, video, or other media

(OWL at Purdue. Is it plagiarism yet? Retrieved June 18, 2018 from

Tip:   You may have heard that it is not necessary to cite well-known facts or information that is widely known – what is called “common knowledge”. However, identifying common knowledge is not altogether straightforward.    Review the following hand-out to learn more about how to identify common knowledge and when citation is necessary.

Cite Your Sources Carefully

Use the citation style required by your instructor to cite sources in your assignment.   Not sure what citation style your instructor wants you to use?    Ask your instructor or TA.

You may be asked to use different citation styles in different classes, particularly across the disciplines.    See the Citation Style Chart from OWL Purdue to see how some of the most common citation styles compare.  

Paraphrase, Summarize, Quote

Paraphrase and Summarize as appropriate:  Use paraphrase and summary to integrate sources into your writing.  

Quote directly as appropriate:  There will be circumstances when it is best to incorporate an exact sentence directly from the work of another author, rather than paraphrasing or summarizing the idea being presented.

Quoting may be necessary when you want to ensure precision of the idea or maintain a certain vivid impact, which may be lost in paraphrase. In this case, it is appropriate to consider quoting and inserting a citation to the original work.

Check your knowledge:     Try the following exercises to check your knowledge.

Guidelines for your Discipline

Different disciplines have different expectations about how you use sources in your writing.   Not sure what the expectations are in your discipline?   Ask your teacher, TA, or visit UTSC Writing Support for more information. 

Check Your Work

Check your work:  Before you submit your assignment, check it for any possible academic integrity issues.