Research/Writing/Citing Sources

This guide will help you learn how to conduct research, how to write well, and how to avoid plagiarism by citing your sources.

About this Guide

The Research/Writing/Citation Styles Guide is intended to help you from the start to the end of the research process.  Starting with deciding on an idea for a research paper, to finding scholarly materials that provide support for your paper, to guides for writing well, and producing a good citation list, also called a bibliography.

A bibliography is a list of the published works that are used to support for your paper.  Note that certain academic disciplines use distinct citation styles. The most common styles are those of the American Psychological Association, known as APA style, that of the Modern Languages Association, known as MLA style, and the style created by the University of Chicago, known as Chicago style.  A commonly-used subset of Chicago is called Turabian after its most noted editor. Under the "Citation Styles" tab you will find pages for using APA, MLA, and Chicago/Turabian.  There other citation styles and we reference some of them in the page "Other Citation Styles" under the "Citation Styles" tab.  Check with your professor if you are unsure as to which style you are to use for your research paper.

Clicking on "How to Read a Citation" under the "Citation Styles" tab, will explain the basic elements of a citation with examples of citations to books, journal articles, conference papers, newspaper articles, online articles, and websites.

There are a variety of software that will format your citations for you. The Georgia Tech campus has a site license to a bibliographic management software called EndNote.  Clicking on the Endnote link will take you to LibGuide which has in-depth information about its use. Also provided is a tab for Mendeley, another very popular citation service and clicking on the tab will take you to a LibGuide that has in-depth information about obtaining and use as well. Please note that Georgia Tech does not have a campus wide license for Mendeley.  In the "other citation software" tab there are  links to other citation software you may use to format your bibliography and may be easier to use and navigate than the popular citation service providers.

Be sure to note the information on plagiarism.  If you are caught plagiarizing someone else's work, you will be subject to academic discipline by the Honor Committee, who can assign punishments of varying degrees, the worst of which is expulsion. Information about how the campus handles all types of academic misconduct including plagiarism is on the Georgia Tech Policy Library page. 

How to Do Research

Not sure about how to get started on your paper or how to take a broad subject and narrow it down?  Examine the sites in this section that can help ou with choosing and narrowing  the subject of your paper, how to perform relevant research, and how to cite your sources using the different citation styles.

Plagiarism @ GT

Plagiarism is defined as  follows:  "To steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own: use (another's production) without crediting the source." Merriam-Webster Dictionary.  Giving credit to where you found the information to put in your document and the author of the information is very important.  It shows that there is a legitimate interest in the subject by other scholars, that there was work put into locating relevant information and that the ideas presented without references are yours alone so the reader can follow your logic and thoughts clearly throughout the paper.

Tips on how to Avoid Plagiarism

Plagiarism, whether intended or not, can have serious consequences, including:

  • Failing an assignment
  • Failing a class
  • Expulsion from the university

As always, if you have concerns about plagiarism, you may consult a subject librarian, examine the guide on the research process, or speak to your professor.