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Citing Sources

Referencing, avoiding plagiarism, and presentation of the Chicago Style


Plagiarism can be defined as the appropriation of works, words or ideas of other persons without giving proper credit. "You lead readers to think that you're trying to pass off as your own the work of another writer" (Booth et al., p. 206). It is both a severe breach of academic integrity and a violation of copyright law.

Authors who do not indicate the source of a quotation or paraphrase, who do not distinguish clearly between their contribution and the contribution of others or paraphrase too closely are plagiarising.  

This also applies if the author is yourself. Citing your previous works incorrectly is self-plagiarism.

Take Reading Notes Carefully

To avoid inadvertent plagiarism, Booth et al. (The Craft of Research, p. 207) strongly recommend to distinguish in your notes between your words and the words of others, to separate quotations, paraphrases and your own thoughts, before it becomes mixed up in your mind. They also recommend (pp. 99-100) to take note of the full arguments of the authors, not just their conclusions, to avoid misrepresenting their thoughts.


Like many higher education institutions, the Graduate Institute uses anti-plagiarism software (Turnitin), and students convicted of plagiarism can be excluded from the Institute.

What is it?
Turnitin is a computer programme that compares a text to many sources: website content, articles and e-books, works submitted by students and researchers from many universities.

Why use it?
To check whether a text is original or copied (partially or totally) from other sources and if references are correctly cited.

Who can use it?
All students, researchers and professors from the Institute, either themselves or through the Library.

  • Masters students must check their final dissertation themselves in June (the Students Service will send them instructions).
  • The Library checks PhD theses after they have been deposited at the Students Service.
  • Professors can activate a Turnitin plugin in Moodle and ask students to check their papers.
  • Individual requests can be sent to


Self-plagiarism is using or recycling your previous work without letting readers know and making them believe you are presenting them with new and original research, not a previous one. It can take several forms:

  • for master students: recycling content from previous assignments for a new one;
  • for researchers: reusing parts of former works without indicating it clearly;
  • recycling data collected for past research without letting readers know.

It is also regarded as plagiarism, and a breach of academic integrity (and can easily be detected by anti-plagiarism software). If you have published your previous research in a subscription journal, and have transferred your copyright during the publication process (meaning you do not own your research anymore), it is furthermore infringing copyright.

The solution is simple: cite yourself properly, exactly the same way you would cite other authors.