The Ethical Use of Information

Kevin Klipfel, Information Literacy Coordinator, California State University, Chico.
[email protected]
Citing Information
There are two main reasons to cite information in
your research:
 1.
To Give Credit Where Credit is Due: If you use the
intellectual work and research of other people, you
must properly attribute – or give credit – to the people
who did the work.
 2. To Provide Evidence for Your Claims: Proper citations
allow you to support your argument and allow for your
reader to verify what you say.
Citing Sources Properly
It is therefore important for you to know how to cite
sources properly. It’s not so important that you
memorize how to use a particular citation style. It’s more
important that you know where to go to find out how to
properly cite information.
Over time, various strategies– or “citation styles’ – have
developed within different academic disciplines in
order to help you do this.
This module will help you identify where to go to find
out how to ethically cite information in your research.
Reputable Citation Websites
There are several websites that will help you cite
information. They will tell you which citation style
you should use for your subject (if you professor has
not already specified one for you) and how to cite
information in specific formats (e.g., Books, journal
articles, internet sources) within that style.
Some helpful websites include:
 Hacker
and Fister’s Research Documentation Online
 Purdue Owl
 CSU Chico’s Meriam Library Citation Guide
Print Citation Guides
CSU, Chico also has citation manuals available in
print. Many of these are kept at the Reference Desk
on the 2nd floor of the Meriam Library.
Stop by the reference desk – or chat with us online
– to get citation help from a librarian.
Understanding Plagiarism
When thinking about using information ethically, a
key issue is understanding plagiarism and issues
surrounding academic integrity.
In order to do so you should familiarize yourself
with CSU, Chico’s Policy on Academic Integrity.
Understanding what constitutes plagiarism in your
work is your responsibility. If you are uncertain
about something, make sure to talk to your
professor before handing in your work.
Some General Tips
In their book The Craft of Research, authors Wayne C.
Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams offer
some helpful tips for the ethical conduct of research:
“Ethical researchers do not plagiarize or claim credit for the
results of others.
They do not misreport sources or invent results.
They do not submit data whose accuracy they have reason to
question, unless they raise the questions.
The do not conceal objections that they cannot rebut.
They do not caricature or distort opposing views.
They do not destroy or conceal sources and important data for
those who follow” (Booth, Colomb, and Williams, 2009, p. 286).
Booth, W.C., Colomb, G.G., & Williams, J.M. (2009). The Craft of Research, 2nd ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Contact a Librarian
If you’re having any trouble with citations, don’t
forget to contact a librarian: we’re more than
happy to help!
For questions about this module, or how to incorporate this module into specific courses, contact:
Kevin Klipfel, Information Literacy Coordinator, California State University, Chico. Contact: [email protected]

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