Academic Guidelines for Citing Sources

Plagiarism is presenting someone else's words or ideas as your own, whether in writing or in speaking. The following are examples of plagiarism:
YOU are plagiarizing if you

  • present ideas as your own without citing the source;
  • paraphrase without crediting the source;
  • use direct quotes with no quotation marks, footnotes, or textual citation of the source; submit material written by someone else as your own (this includes purchasing a term or research paper); or
  • submit a paper or assignment for which you have received so much help that the writing is different from your own

    FROM: College of the Redwoods Arts and Humanities Division handout on Student Responsibility

As you take notes, be sure to give each source correct attribution. Doing this will help you stay clear of plagiarism problems. Giving sources the credit due to them not only protects you but also increases your credibility. When you cite, quote, or paraphrase another source, it lets the audience know that you have taken the time to prepare and research the speech. Let your research show. Never cover it up or try to claim ideas that belong to someone else are you own. Credit must be given where credit is due. When you use the thoughts or writings of another, note it. Audiences do not expect you to have developed all of the ideas contained in your speech. Thus, during the presentation, you will need to provide oral citations or footnotes. Such citations are not difficult to include as long as you have done your research and recorded your information carefully. What do you say in an oral citation? Here are some samples.
If you are citing a speech or article, you might say; "In his January speech on economic indicators, President George Bush told a Washington audience...," or, "According to the World Almanac last year ...".
If it is a direct quote, state the name of the author and the source; "In her book, You Just Don't Understand, researcher Deborah Tannen tells her readers..."
If you are paraphrasing a book or article, you might tell your audience, "Harvey Mackay, corporate president and author of the best-seller, Beware the Naked Man Who offers You His Shirt, feels that most Americans are simply too gullible for their own good." You can see that, in effect, as you build your speech you bring experts onto your team in order to give your message as much impact as possible.
      FROM: Public Speaking in the Age of Diversity by Teri & Michael Gamble


Plagiarism is taking the ideas or language of someone else and claiming it as your own. If you do this intentionally, it is outright stealing--one of the most serious offences in the academic community. People and their careers have been ruined because they plagiarized the work of others.
Plagiarism can also happen by accident. Some very honest and well intentioned student have plagiarized without knowing it. They used another person's ideas or language but failed to give the other person credit because they did not know how.

Crediting the source is a matter of form and style, as well as of integrity. If, unintentionally, you do not follow a correct form of entry, or if you do not indicate by the way you record information that the ideas or the language are not your own, then you have plagiarized unintentionally.
      FROM: Public Speaking for Personal Success by Michael S. Hanna & James W. Gibson

In your speeches, as in any communication in which your use ideas that are not your own, you should attempt to work the source of your material into the context of the speech. Such efforts to include sources will not only help the audience evaluate the content, but will also add to your credibility as a speaker. In a written report, ideas taken form another source are designated by footnotes; in a speech these notations must be included within the context of your statement of the material. In a addition, citing sources will give concrete evidence of the depth of your research. Your citation need not be a complete representation of all the bibliographical information.

[Here are] examples of several appropriate source citations:
"According to the feature article about the rising costs of medicine in last week's Time magazine..."
"In a speech on 'Computer Security,' before the Annual Computer Security Conference last November, Thomas Horton, CEO of the American Management Association said..."
"An article on ethnic clashes in Russia in the March 19, 1990 issue of Newsweek reported that,..."
"But in order to get a complete picture, we have to look at the statistics. According to the most recent Statistical Abstract, the balance of payments during the last three years have been..."

Although you do not want to clutter your speech with bibliographical citations, you do want to make sure that you have properly reflected the sources of your most important information. If you practice these and similar short citations, you will find that they soon will come naturally.
     FROM: The Challenge of Effective Speaking by Rudolph F. Verderber