Incorporating Research

click to view the Research Roadmap diagramIt is important to follow scholarly conventions when you use sources in your scholarly writing. This will help you avoid plagiarism even when you are not quoting word-for-word. You have three choices to incorporate outside sources in your writing as evidence:

  • Paraphrasing: Paraphrasing is translating another person's ideas into your own words in roughly the same length as the original.
  • Summarizing: Summarizing involves briefly describing the main points or distilling the key terms from a source (much shorter than the original work).
  • Quoting: Quotations are copied directly from the original source.

Each of these must include both an in-text citation and a complete citation in the list of references at the end of your paper or assignment. The Publication Manual of the American Psychology Association, 5th edition is one of the best sources for answering citation questions. The Capella Online Writing Center also has useful guides including:

Capella University has an online tutoring service called SMARTHINKING. When you submit a writing sample, they will give feedback about your writing.

A paper formatted perfectly according to APA guidelines may be starving for ideas...in other words, APA format is to content as a mug is to coffee. A paper's format simply provides the "mold" in which one's ideas-the important stuff-are developed.
– What's Behind APA Guidelines

Taking the pain out of APA
As a scholarly researcher you need to know the basics of citing sources such as journal articles and books. Having this working knowledge will save you time and improve your accuracy. There are also tools that can help you put together your references. None of these tools are foolproof, so you must take some time to double check to make sure your citations are formatted correctly before you turn in an assignment.

Small Projects:
These work well for small projects (1-3 citations). Type your journal or book information (title, author, year, etc.) into the fields and a citation will be generated for you.

Warning: These are experimental tools, so double check the formatting.

Large Projects:
There are a growing number of software programs designed for researchers and scholars to keep track of scholarly research. They create in-text citations and the list of references. Many of the Library databases work with these programs, so you can export citations directly from the database to your Endnote or RefWorks account.

Organizing your Citations (PDF)

Did you know that many of the library databases will help you format your references in APA format (PDF) even if you don't have one of the programs mentioned above? In most of our databases, when you print, email, or save your citations you get the option to put your citations in the APA format. You can then copy and paste these into your own working document, making sure to double check the formatting for errors.

Learning about Academic Honesty and giving proper credit in your writing
When you plagiarize-intentionally or unintentionally-you put your academic career at risk. Institutions of higher learning have a low tolerance for stealing other people's ideas. Consequences range from suspension to expulsion from the university.
– Plagiarism Facts

When you join the scholarly conversation you have a responsibility to your audience to identify which words represent your thoughts and which are the words and thoughts of others. This applies to more than just direct quotes. Any time you use someone else's thoughts or ideas you need to cite it and give credit to the source. If you fail to do this you are plagiarizing. Plagiarism is in violation of the Capella University's Academic Honesty Policy.

It may be helpful to use tools to track the resources you find. There are many different methods you can use to track articles and citations. For example, try the Scholarly Research Log along with the Reading Chart. Also read up on Taking Notes to learn some best practices.

Review Capella's Online Writing Center's information on Academic Honesty and how to avoid plagiarism.

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