When to Use Direct Quotations:
Rarely used in STEM and Social Science writing; evidence is most important, so explain in your own words, and cite.
Commonly used in the Literature, Philosophy, and other Humanities subjects; used when the exact text is the SUBJECT of the writing, so quote, add your own commentary, and cite.
There may be instances when you even need to cite yourself! (Yes, this is a thing. We're sorry.)
If you don't cite your sources properly, it will be construed as plagiarism. This is really bad.
Plagiarism is using the work of someone else as your own without providing credit. It's literary theft.
You can read more about NJIT's definition of plagiarism and academic integrity by consulting Article 11 of the University Policy on Academic Integrity.
This is why it's crucial to learn about citations and how to properly use them.
When in doubt, always cite. It is always better to over cite than not cite enough when faced with uncertainty.
However, there are times when citations are not needed. There are two instances when this is the case:
Common knowledge is information that the average person would know without needing to research it. Examples include:
Common knowledge can also be shared by members of a specific field. If your audience is other members of your field, there may be information that you do not need to cite.
To determine what is common knowledge, remind yourself who your audience is. However, if you're ever uncertain if something is common knowledge or not, always err on the side of caution and cite. There is never a penalty for over-citing, but there are plenty of penalties for not citing enough.
What is Plagiarism? from Plagiarism.org. Gives an additional overview of plagiarism.
Plagiarism is about more than intellectual theft. Students who plagiarize are not learning to own their own words and ideas. Read Plagiarism: A Lie of the Mind by Maurice Isserman in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
International students may need to learn about how plagiarism in the U.S. differs from attitudes about intellectual property in the cultures they grew up in. Cultural differences in plagiarism by Audrey Campbell from TurnItIn (plagiarism detection software used at NJIT) describes America’s academic integrity values compared to those of other cultures.
How to Avoid Plagiarism: a Student Handbook an open textbook.
Avoiding plagiarism, self plagiarism and other questionable writing practices is an online book which goes into detail on many aspects of plagiarism. From the U.S. Office of Research Integrity. Written for aspiring scientists.
Paraphrasing is a process – it is not just about replacing an author's words with other words. Learn some useful tips with these resources:
Watch How to Paraphrase – 3 Paraphrasing Techniques, a “study hacks” video from Queensland University of Technology. This video demonstrates a constructive process for putting the research of others into your own words.
Writing in your own words from The Open University (UK)
Plagiarism isn’t just something we learn because an academic policy dictates that it must be so. Here are some real life examples of plagiarism and its consequences.
Want a comedic portrayal of plagiarism? Watch Saturday Night Live’s satire of students trying to get away with plagiarism