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Documentation...or, "I Don't Need No Stinkin' Footnote!"

Ah, but you may! Plagiarism rules dictate that you must document sources and give authors credit when using direct quotations, when using the ideas or concepts generated by someone else, when using someone else's research and whenever you are copying charts or other graphics designed by someone else. You don't have to document anything that is accepted as common knowledge.

If the information you are inserting is likely to be viewed as something that you came up with all by yourself and, in fact, you didn't, you had best include a source note. Instructors have a nose for plagiarism and this is one area where it is best to be upfront.

This information is included here because as you write your draft you should be making these source notes as you go. You do this by including a raised number at the conclusion of the statement that needs documenting. Number each of these sequentially as you go through the text and then put the same number at the bottom of the page and explain the source of the statement. Don't worry during your first draft if you run out of space at the bottom of the page and have to slop over to the top of the next page to complete the documentation. You can clean that up in your final draft.

It may prove easier for you to write through a complete thought or concept while it is flowing through your head instead of stopping to think about a footnote. This is fine if you want to complete the page or the thought and then go back and add the footnote. Whatever works for you. You are simply much more likely to end up with the source notes you need if you insert them as you go.


Last Updated: 08/20/2013

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