- When quoting directly, use quotation marks and add a reference at the end of the quote.
- When paraphrasing, add a reference at the end of the sentence or paragraph.
- When in doubt, reference.
Cite a source when using a result, opinion or fact that is not common knowledge and not your own
Common knowledge does not need a reference. Textbooks, for example, do not provide a reference for every fact. There is no need to add a citation when quoting Newton’s second law of motion (F = ma), but a result that is not widely known needs a citation. How common a result must be to be common knowledge needs judgment and topic expertise – and may depend on the audience. Err on the side of citing.
Cite a source when reproducing part of another text
Insert a citation whenever directly copying the work of others – this includes words, images, tables, anything. What has actually been copied must be made clear through some notation, such as enclosing it in quote marks or indenting it as a block quote. The source of a quote – and the fact that it is a quote – must always be clear to the reader:
It was noted in the annual report (GRDC 2012) that ‘2012 was a most successful year for the GRDC’.
Cite a source when paraphrasing
Even when not using the text directly, the source of an important idea or fact must be noted:
The GRDC considered 2012 to be a very successful year (GRDC 2012).
Cite a source when deriving new results from old
If you build on someone else’s work, you must cite the source. This can occur when:
- changing the format of information – for example, when plotting data that were presented elsewhere as a table, or deriving a table from information presented in text or graphically; in this case, the source note might say something like Data taken from … or Based on …
- updating or adding to existing work – for example, adding data from more recent years to a table
- reanalysing data that have already been presented elsewhere
- critiquing, comparing or reinterpreting results, theories and statements.
For hints about adding source notes to graphs and tables, refer to Definitions, notes and sources (graphs) and Definitions, notes and sources (tables), respectively.
Sight and cite the original
Try to cite the original occurrence of a result, not a source that cites the original source. Always try to read the original source; secondary sources might not represent it accurately.
Do not plagiarise yourself
Even if the words are your own, you must give the source. A project might yield numerous publications that have some things in common – methods, context and so on. Reusing text from one publication to the next is usually not acceptable. Either rewrite the section or reference the original (possibly quoting it as well).
Note that when work is published it is no longer necessarily owned by the author. The publisher may have rights that prevent the author reusing the material.