Architecture Studies Library
       University of Nevada, Las Vegas Libraries
UNLV HOME (University of Nevada, Las Vegas)
Links for ASL and Libraries Hours for all UNLV Libraries Search catalog for all UNLV Libraries Access your library account ASL Comment Form
ASL Books     Articles     Course Reserves    
The ASL The Web

UNLV Libraries -> Architecture Studies Library -> Finding Resources -> Module 13: Plagarism -> Documenting your research

Documenting Your Research: Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

One of the things that distinguishes scholarly writing from other forms is the use of notes and bibliographies to document the sources of information and ideas. There are several reasons for this practice:

Your notes or references list will direct other researchers to sources of additional or more complete information than you included in your paper, speech, or presentation.

Using these reasons as guidelines, you can see that some types of information and ideas would not usually need to be documented. For example, "Sacramento is the capital of California," "American independence is celebrated on July 4th," or "Arcata is in Humboldt County," are all examples of well-known facts which can be verified easily. Their accuracy is not in doubt, and they would not normally need to be documented. Common or widely shared opinions do not usually need to be documented, either. For example, you could probably state that "electronic technology is changing society in many ways," or "the Vietnam War caused serious divisions in American society" without documentation. However, if you were quoting someone who said or wrote that statement, you would need to cite your source. What is considered common knowledge can vary, though. Especially at the beginning of your academic career, you should check with your instructor before assuming that a fact or an opinion is commonly enough known not to require documentation.

Plagiarism, taking credit for language or ideas not your own, is a form of theft. It carries severe penalties in the academic community. At UNLV, these may involve receiving an F in your course and suspension or expulsion from the University. Research and scholarship often build on or refer to the work of others. It is not wrong to use others´┐Ż ideas, or even their words. It is wrong to present them as your own.

To avoid unintended plagiarism:

If you have comments about the usefulness of this module and/or how it can be improved, please contact Jeanne Brown, Architecture Studies Librarian, at

© 2000 Humboldt State University Library - Modified and used with permission

Monday, 17-Dec-2012 10:50:32 PST