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Citing Sources at DKU

Other Resources at DKU

Writing and Language Studio

The Writing and Language Studio (WLS), hosted by the Language and Culture Center at Duke Kunshan University, provides guidance and support to students, faculty, and staff in the Duke Kunshan community as they develop their language and communication skills. We provide the services of a traditional university writing center as well as coaching in language learning.


citation, n

a. The action or an act of quoting or referring to a passage, text, author, legal precedent, etc., esp. as an authority or in support of an argument; quotation.

b. A reference providing information about where a particular quotation, text, etc., is to be found; a bibliographical reference.

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Whenever you quote or paraphrase ideas from someone else's work, you must acknowledge the source by providing citations. This includes written sources (books, articles and webpages), images, figures and tables, sounds, and video clips. 

Why is citation important?

You need to cite your sources for these reasons:

  • To give credit to authors for their findings and ideas
  • To allow your reader to track down the origin of the sources
  • To provide scholarly context and document intellectual trajectory of your arguments
  • To strengthen the validity of your arguments by demonstrating the scope of your research

Avoiding Plagirism

Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty. It occurs when you fail to cite your sources properly.

Plagiarism is a very serious violation of academic integrity; those who plagiarize face serious consequences. According to DKU's Academic Integrity Policy, plagiarism can lead to students receiving a "zero on the assignment [or] reduced/failing grade for the course." In some cases, it may be "grounds for suspension or more severe censure if proven true." 


Take this quiz from Cardiff University Library and see if you can identify examples of plagiarism:

When should you cite?

When writing an essay or doing a presentation, you should cite your source when you:

  • Directly quote a sentence or passage from another work, including those you previously wrote
  • Paraphrase or summarize ideas from someone else's work
  • Include figures, statistics, or multi-media in your work

You do not need to cite:

  • Common knowledge 
  • Your own idea expressed in the same paper/presentation 

Not sure about whether you should cite? Refer to the flow chart below.

Remember: when in doubt, cite!