The importance of using sources correctly when writing an essay cannot be overstated. Writers must be credited with their ideas and language. Not to do so is considered plagiarism, which is frowned upon at every level from elementary school through college and beyond. Make sure you understand the assignment before you spend a great deal of time doing research.
When available, academic and peer-reviewed publications, scholarly monographs, and textbooks are usually the most reliable sources. However, some scholarly material may be outdated, in competition with alternative theories, or controversial within the relevant field.
Try to cite current scholarly consensus when available, recognizing that this is often absent. Reliable non-academic sources may also be used in articles about scholarly issues, particularly material from high-quality mainstream publications.
Deciding which sources are appropriate depends on context. Material should be attributed in-text where sources disagree. For example, a paper reviewing existing research, a review article, monograph, or textbook is often better than a primary research paper.
When relying on primary sources, extreme caution is advised: Wikipedians should never interpret the content of primary sources for themselves.
No original research and Wikipedia: Neutral point of view. Material such as an article, book, monograph, or research paper that has been vetted by the scholarly community is regarded as reliable, where the material has been published in reputable peer-reviewed sources or by well-regarded academic presses.
Completed dissertations or theses written as part of the requirements for a doctorate, and which are publicly available most via interlibrary loan or from Proquestcan be used but care should be exercised, as they are often, in part, primary sources.
Some of them will have gone through a process of academic peer reviewing, of varying levels of rigor, but some will not.
If possible, use theses that have been cited in the literature; supervised by recognized specialists in the field; or reviewed by third parties. Dissertations in progress have not been vetted and are not regarded as published and are thus not reliable sources as a rule.
Some theses are later published in the form of scholarly monographs or peer reviewed articles, and, if available, these are usually preferable to the original thesis as sources. Masters dissertations and theses are considered reliable only if they can be shown to have had significant scholarly influence.
One can confirm that discussion of the source has entered mainstream academic discourse by checking the scholarly citations it has received in citation indexes.
A corollary is that journals not included in a citation index, especially in fields well covered by such indexes, should be used with caution, though whether it is appropriate to use will depend on the context. Isolated studies are usually considered tentative and may change in the light of further academic research.
If the isolated study is a primary source, it should generally not be used if there are secondary sources that cover the same content. The reliability of a single study depends on the field. Avoid undue weight when using single studies in such fields. Studies relating to complex and abstruse fields, such as medicineare less definitive and should be avoided.
Secondary sources, such as meta-analysestextbooks, and scholarly review articles are preferred when available, so as to provide proper context. Care should be taken with journals that exist mainly to promote a particular point of view.
A claim of peer review is not an indication that the journal is respected, or that any meaningful peer review occurs. Journals that are not peer reviewed by the wider academic community should not be considered reliable, except to show the views of the groups represented by those journals.
They simply publish whatever is submitted if the author is willing to pay a fee. Some go so far as to mimic the names of established journals see hijacked journals.
If you are unsure about the quality of a journal, check that the editorial board is based in a respected accredited universityand that it is included in the relevant high-quality citation index —be wary of indexes that merely list almost all publications, and do not vet the journals they list.
News reporting from less-established outlets is generally considered less reliable for statements of fact. The agency should be cited in addition to the newspaper that reprinted it. Editorial commentary, analysis and opinion pieceswhether written by the editors of the publication editorials or outside authors op-eds are reliable primary sources for statements attributed to that editor or authorbut are rarely reliable for statements of fact.
Human interest reporting is generally not as reliable as news reporting, and may not be subject to the same rigorous standards of fact-checking and accuracy see junk food news. The opinions of specialists and recognized experts are more likely to be reliable and to reflect a significant viewpoint.
Reviews for books, movies, art, etc. Press releases from the organizations or journals are often used by newspapers with minimal change; such sources are churnalism and should not be treated differently than the underlying press release.
Occasionally, some newspapers still have specialist reporters who are citable by name. With regard to biomedical articles, see also Wikipedia: Identifying reliable sources medicine. The reporting of rumors has a limited encyclopedic value, although in some instances verifiable information about rumors may be appropriate i.
Wikipedia is not the place for passing along gossip and rumors. Some news organizations have used Wikipedia articles as a source for their work.The Library of Congress offers classroom materials and professional development to help teachers effectively use primary sources from the Library's vast digital collections in their teaching.
Citing Secondary Sources Use secondary sources sparingly; you should always try to locate the original source of information which is cited in a work which you have read. This is, however, not always possible: sometimes the original work is out of print, unavailable through your usual sources or not available in .
Examples of Secondary Sources Some examples of works that interpret or critique primary sources include: Textbooks (May also be considered tertiary) Essays or reviews Articles that analyze or discuss ideas and events Criticisms or commentaries Next: Tertiary Sources».
This complete guide teaches you everything you need to know about the APA Citation Format. Learn how to cite books, academic sources, websites and more.
Citation Machine™ helps students and professionals properly credit the information that they use. Cite sources in APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian, and Harvard for free. Answer: Plagiarism is essentially taking an existing work and passing it off as original without crediting the source.
All of the above are considered plagiarism (as a manifestation of plagiarism or as a definitional rewording).