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GEH1049 Public Health in Action

All about Citing Sources

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is an academic offence that is taken very seriously by the University (see the NUS Code of Student Conduct). 

Plagiarism is the “wrongful appropriation…, and publication as one’s own, of the ideas, or the expression of the ideas (literary, artistic, musical, mechanical, etc.)  of another" (see The Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.,1989)). You should not use someone else's work, including words, ideas, projects and/or any other material without citing the source. 

Common forms of plagiarism can include:  

  1. Copying, cutting and pasting without citing the original source     
  2. Passing off another’s ideas, conclusions, or work as your own   
  3. Paraphrasing incorrectly
  4. Submitting another person's paper as your own
  5. Fabricating citations
  6. Using media files, such as image, audio or video files, without citing them

Suggested readings on plagiarism:


 Image credits: Tips to Detect and Avoid Plagiarism,, 2019 

We are constantly engaged with other people's ideas - we read them in texts, hear them in lecture, discuss them in class, and incorporate them into our own writing. Hence, it is very important that we give due credit to people's works through clearly acknowledging (citing) the source of the information used.

why cite icon



Citing your sources is important because:

  • Giving credit (attribution) to original authors helps you avoid plagiarising.
  • Readers can go back and look at your sources if they'd like to follow up or read further.   
  • By demonstrating how widely you've researched a topic, your own argument ends up being more credible.
  • Citations can show you've considered a wide variety of opinions when forming your own argument.
  • Citing gives you the opportunity to show off your research abilities!
  • Your professors expect it as part of standard academic discourse. Scholars have been debating ideas through written works for years and citing is a way of respecting those who've engaged in the topic before you.  

What is a citation?

  • McLeroy, K. R., Bibeau, D., Steckler, A., & Glanz, K. (1988). An ecological perspective on health promotion programs. Health Education Quarterly 15 (4), 351-377. DOI:10.1177/109019818801500401

A citation or reference is the information given in a bibliography or a reference list about a particular title, which often includes:

  • Article title or chapter title
  • Journal title or book title
  • Author(s) or editor(s)
  • Place of publication
  • Date of publication
  • Publisher name
  • Volume/issue (articles) or edition (books)
  • Page range
  • Medium of publication
  • Electronic access (URL or DOI)
  • Date accessed

Citations give credit to those whose ideas have contributed to your research and give your readers enough information to locate the sources you used. There are many ways to format citations. The style you choose depends on your subject and the requirements set by your professor.

You must cite the source when you...

  • Paraphrase someone's ideas
  • Mention someone's ideas
  • Summarize a source
  • Quote someone's exact words
  • Use numerical data, such as statistics
  • Use an image, such as a picture or a diagram
  • Use multimedia, such as a video, an animation, or an audio recording
  • Mention a fact that is not common knowledge

Citing mainly occurs in these areas of your paper :

  1. In-text
    • An in-text citation is a reference made within the body of text of an academic essay. Include an in-text citation when you refer to, summarize, paraphrase, or quote from another source. For every in-text citation in your paper, there must be a corresponding entry in your bibliography or reference list.​

Example of an in-text citation:

Image adapted from: APA Citation Generator & APA Format Guide Citation Machine 

  1. Reference list or Bibliography
    A reference list and a bibliography look very much alike. They both contain entries arranged alphabetically for example, by author, and they include the same basic information. The difference lies not so much in how they look as in what they contain. The purpose is to help the reader uniquely identify and access each source. 

  • A bibliography is a detailed list of works cited in your paper, plus the background readings or other material that you may have read, but not actually cited.
  • A reference list is the detailed list of references that are cited in your work. For example, in APA Style, each reference cited in text must appear in the reference list, and each entry in the reference list must be cited in text.


Image adapted from: APA Citation Generator & APA Format Guide Citation Machine 

This depends on the following:

  • What type of work you are writing
    There are different citation styles for different disciplines. For example, when you cite sources in a psychology paper, you would probably use the APA style. If you are citing sources for an English literature paper you would choose the MLA style. Visit our Citation Styles Libguide for information on popular citation styles.
  • ​How you are using the borrowed material
    ​Identify your sources. If your sources are very important to your ideas, you should mention (in-text) the author and work in a sentence that introduces your citation. If, however, you are only citing the source to make a minor point, you may consider using parenthetical references, footnotes, or endnotes.
  • The expectations of your instructor!
    Before you begin writing, ask your instructor what style of citation should you use. Visit our Libguide on Citation for instructional guides on popular citation styles including APA (American Psychological Association) style.

Adapted from How do I cite sources?, © 2017 Turnitin, LLC.

Facets of Academic Integrity


undefinedAcademic dishonesty is...

"...any misrepresentation with the intent to deceive or

failure to acknowledge the source or falsification of information or

inaccuracy of statements or

cheating at examinations/tests or

inappropriate use of resources." (Source:


undefined Possible consequences of Academic Dishonesty

  • Reduced grades with no S/U option
  • Failure of modules/assignments
  • Expulsion from NUS


undefinedCommon forms of academic dishonesty

  • Hiring ghostwriters or others to do your work
  • Cheating at exams/tests
  • Plagiarism in any form
  • Copying homework or lab results
  • Buying, selling or distributing teaching materials online
  • Copyright infringement in any form
  • Colluding with classmates in tests, assignments or take-home exams
  • Fabricating information, data, sources or citations
  • Inappropriate use of library resources


  • Co-operation for a group assignment is not collusion when group members divide individual tasks and collectively finalise assignment for submission

  In a group of four members, for example, each member could co-operate as follows:

  • All to brainstorm and decide on topic
  • Each member to search and retrieve sources of information, summarise contents, synthesise findings for writing report, do reference citations and bibliography
  • All to proofread and finalise the assignment for submission



  • When working on an individual assignment, students should do their own research and writing.

  What does this mean?

  • All stages of research, synthesis of information, writing up and citing should be done on your own
  • You should not get together with one another to write the assignment
  • You should not get together with one another to divide research tasks and synthesise information

undefinedBuying, selling or distributing of NUS teaching materials

  • NUS teaching materials such as slides, worksheets and materials in any other formats are protected by copyright
  • These are for your personal study
  • You should not be buying, selling, exchanging or distributing NUS teaching materials, or encouraging anyone else to do so
  • This is a violation of the NUS Student Code of Conduct and NUS IP Policy
  • It is considered severe academic misconduct which may result in disciplinary action

Infographic on Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty

References: other academic integrity essentials