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Citing Sources

Referencing, avoiding plagiarism, and presentation of the Chicago Style


Plagiarism can be defined as the appropriation of someone else's work, words or ideas 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). This is both a serious breach of academic integrity and a violation of copyright law.

Authors who do not acknowledge the source of a quotation or paraphrase, who do not clearly distinguish their contribution from that of others, or who paraphrase too closely are plagiarising.  

This applies even if you are the author. Misquoting your own previous work is self-plagiarism.

Take Reading Notes Carefully

To avoid inadvertent plagiarism, Booth et al. (The Craft of Research, p. 207) strongly recommend that you make a distinction in your notes between your words and the words of others, separating quotations, paraphrases and your own thoughts, before they get mixed up in your mind. They also recommend (pp. 99-100) that you note 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 found to have plagiarised may be expelled from the Institute.

What is it?
Turnitin is a computer program that checks a text against many sources: website content, articles and e-books, and papers submitted by students and researchers at many universities.

Why use it?
To check whether a text is original or copied (in part or in full) from another source, and whether 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 theses themselves in June (the Student Services will send them instructions).
  • The Library will check PhD theses after they have been submitted to Student Services.
  • Professors can activate a Turnitin plugin in Moodle and ask students to check their papers.
  • Students can always check their own work if they wish: how to use Turnitin


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

  • for Masters students: recycling content from previous assignments for a new one;
  • for researchers: re-using parts of previous works without making this clear;
  • recycling data collected for previous research without informing the reader.

It is also considered plagiarism, and a breach of academic integrity (and can be easily 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 (i.e. you no longer own your research), this is also copyright infringement.

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