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Citing Correctly and Avoiding Plagiarism: FAQs

This is a guide to resources about avoiding plagiarism and citing sources correctly.

In general, when it comes to citing sources, the intent is to lead your reader to the place where you encountered the information. This way, if there are any questions about your sources, the answers are easily findable.

What happens, though, when you're trying to cite something that has been quoted by someone else, or is republished by someone else?

Sometimes it's important to locate and cite the original source, so you would do that, and cite the original source.

Other times, it may be more helpful or appropriate to use the source you found and cite that instead.

Below are some examples of how you would navigate these situations.

Q: I found this version of Sojourner Truth's 1851 speech "Ain't I a Woman" online. How do I cite it?

A: Although the author of the page says this speech is "From Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., History of Woman Suffrage, vol. I (1881; reprint, New York: Arno Press, 1969), pp. 114­17.", without going to the 1969 published book to access the speech, we need to cite the speech as we found it online, including the details of the online source.

As a result, a Chicago Notes and Bibliography format citation to this source would accurately be as follows:

Fordham University. "Modern History Sourcebook: Sojourner Truth: A'nt I a Woman?" Accessed July 21, 2020.
     https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/mod/sojtruth2.asp.

Q: I used an English translation of Simone de Beauvoir's book All Said and Done for my paper because I can't read French. How do I cite it?

A: Language is so varied that the translator can indeed have an effect on the translation, and to be clear, you'll want to include information about the translator. Here's how to cite a translation in MLA 8th format:

Beauvoir, Simone de. All Said and Done. Translated by Patrick O'Brian. Putnam, 1974.

Q: I found this great quote from bell hooks cited on page 436 of this paper I read called "Mentoring and Love: An Open Letter" by Bernadette Marie Calafell. I want to use the quote in my paper. How do I cite it? Do I cite the bell hooks quote by using Calafell's citation?

A: If you want to use the bell hooks quote from the paper, and don't want to (or aren't able to) locate the bell hooks quote as it was originally published, you would note in your text hooks (as cited in Calafell, 2007, p. 436) stated "The choice to love is a choice to connect---to find ourselves in the other" and create an APA citation as follows:

Calafell, B. M. (2007). Mentoring and Love: An Open Letter. Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies, 7(4),
     425–441. https://doi.org/10.1177/1532708607305123

Q: I would like to use this photograph I found on flickr by Alanna Airitam, but I'm not sure how to cite it.

A: In this case, credit for the image goes to the person or organization who posted it, but luckily they included the name of the artist in the title. Here's an example of a citation for this in Chicago Author-Date style, which is used in art history:

Redwood Media Group. 2019. "Queen Mary by Alanna Airitam." Flickr, September 27, 2019.
     Accessed July 21, 2020. https://www.flickr.com/photos/artexpo/48806168682.

And, for comparison, here is a citation to the same work posted on the artist's website:

Airitam, Alanna, photographer. n.d. "Queen Mary." Accessed July 21, 2020.
     https://www.alannaairitam.com/portfolio/C0000yUDdooLUUGA/G0000qkMw77yHBNA/I0000hzR3BPWPzJY.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.