Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Skip to Main Content

Citing Sources

Citation style guides, sample papers, tips on how to avoid plagiarism, and RCC Writing Center information

According to Randolph Community College’s academic policies, plagiarism is “the use of another’s original words or ideas as though they were your own” (“Academic”). Instances of plagiarism include, but are not limited to the following:

  • "Turning in someone else’s work as your own.
  • Copying a phrase, sentence, or passage from someone else or another source (Internet, print media, etc.) without proper citation.
  • Failing to put a quotation in quotation marks.
  • Giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation.
  • Copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not.
  • Downloading or buying a term paper from the Internet and submitting it as your own work." (“Academic”)

"The following sanctions for violation of the Academic Integrity Policy will be imposed by the instructor, department head, division chair/director/coordinator, dean, or vice president for instructional services:

  • First offense – a grade of 0 on the test, quiz, or assignment
  • Second offense – a grade of “F” for the course and academic probation for one semester
  • Third offense – suspension or expulsion from the College" ("Academic").

“Academic Integrity.” Randolph Community College, 2012, Academic Integrity Policy (opens in a new window).

           Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

  • To Build Upon the Research of Others

Citing your sources demonstrates to your audience that your arguments and conclusions are not based solely upon your own opinion or biases, but are supported by the findings of other researchers.

  • To Give Credit When It's Due

Citing information allows you to demonstrate exactly what information you took from another researcher and it shows what information is original to your work.

  • To Allow for Further Research

When you cite others' research in your work, you are giving your audience the sources they need to seek out additional information related to your topic.

  • To Avoid Plagiarism!

Plagiarism is a serious offense at Randolph Community College and is subject to disciplinary action. Plagiarism is the act of not giving credit to the sources of information you use in your writing. 


  • Direct Quotes

When you quote directly from a source.
When you rephrase, reword, or summarize information from a source.

  • Arguments and Terminology

When you make use of another person's argument, idea, or specific terminology.

  • Graphs, Charts, Photographs, Drawings, etc.

When you use or glean information from another person's graph, chart, photograph, drawing, or other representation of information.


Here are some things you should and should not do to help avoid plagiarism in your writing assignments:

  • Do not use the copy and paste function.
  • When brainstorming, come up with as many original ideas as possible. It is okay if you have the same ideas as another expert (this is a good thing!). When you include your original ideas in your own essay, be sure to cite the expert who agrees. 
  • Maintain organization during the research process. Keep source information separate and use highlighters and note cards to make references visible. 
  • Always use quotation marks when you borrow someone else’s words.
  • Always provide source information for statistics, data, graphs, charts, and drawings – or anything not considered common knowledge.
  • Even if you change the order of words or make it sound better by adding or deleting some phrases, include the source details (i.e., author’s last name, year of publication, and page numbers) immediately after the borrowed information, but before the period.
  • When in doubt, ask your instructor.

Images Require Citations?

Yes, they do!  Below you will find guidelines, videos, and notes on the videos to help you avoid plagiarizing those images.

If you do not have the time or the desire to learn about how to use images correctly and without copyright infringement, you can always use the clip art found on PowerPoint or Google Slides. 

However, this is very important information in case you need to make a presentation in the future, either for college or work.

Basic Best Practices for Presentations:

  • Font 24 pt. or greater
  • Use bullet points with phrases of the most important information (no complete sentences)
  • Use parallel structure with the phrases
  • Maximum 6 bullet points
  • At least one image per slide since this is a "visual" informational form

  • The video below explains the "how" of deciding if you can use an image or not and under what circumstances.  
  • This is good information for almost anyone today, but especially for people in marketing, advertising, web design, etc.

  • The video below now tells you "where" you can find some free images and how to resize them; however, be careful because these sites will also have images for pay.  
  • Even if an image says an attribute is not required, it would be best to still include an attribute so no one thinks you may have plagiarized the image.
  • In the video below at 1 minute 55 seconds, you will see the photographer's name with the website name. 
  • For this example, I would want it in the smallest font possible and centered under the image in parenthesis that information.  
  • (DariuszSankowski on Pixabay)  [Notice, the website name is in italics.]

Video for these instructions posted above

  • One of the best sites I use that is not mentioned in the previous videos is the Creative Commons.  (Link posted below.)
  • Above the mountain picture and under the heading "Search the Commons," click on "Visit Openverse."
  • Type your subject in that search box.
  • Click on "Images."
  • On the right hand side, click "Public Domain Mark" to ensure you have only copyright free images.
  • Click on your chosen image.
  • Scroll down to "Credit the Creator" and copy the already formed attribute for you to paste in the smallest font (8 pt.) possible within parentheses possible under the image in your presentation.  (Paste onto a document until you are ready to use it; be sure to capitalize all major words in the title of the image.)
  • After access the image, click on the download button in the far right-hand corner of the screen and choose the size you want; small or medium are generally the best choices for a presentation.
  • Your image will go to your "Downloads" folder where you will find it to "insert" in your presentation.
  • Do not overly stress about precise formatting with attributes; as long as you have made a good attempt, most instructors will be impressed you knew to cite your images!

Click here-->Creative Commons-Use & Remix

Plagiarism Chart Infographic

Creative Commons License

EasyBib. (2020, October 28). A General Guide to Understanding Written Plagiarism [Infographic]. (link open in new window).

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. (opens in a new window)


Produced by Cape Fear Community College