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Biomedical Engineering: Reasons to cite

A guide to resources in Biomedical Engineering

Link to the 'Plagiarism Libguide' at KUSTAR

Turnitin Plagiarism Spectrum

Why do you need to cite?

It is very important to cite the sources you have used to write your assignment. If you don't, you will be accused of plagiarising, an offence that has negative consequences.

The most important reasons for citing are:

  1. To honor the rights of the author of the original work. This is referred to as copyright.
  2. To give credit to the author of the original work.
  3. To enable a faculty member or researcher to locate and check the original sources you have used.
  4. To help readers who are interested to know more about your subject.
  5. To facilitate the research process and enable others to follow up on your work.

Top 10: student tips for avoiding plagiarism

Person with question markPerson with question markPerson with question mark

  • Know the definition of plagiarism at your school. Check with instructors to determine whether collaboration is permitted and what they expect of your bibliography. Remember that all ideas and words must be cited.
  • Take good notes. Develop strategies such as note cards or spreadsheet files that will help you keep track of sources, authors, URLs, and other important information as you work.
  • Paraphrase carefully. Try not to use more than one or two important words from the original source when you paraphrase material (and remember to cite that source even if your material isn't in quotation marks).
  • Learn to attribute correctly. Ask teachers what citation format they prefer and learn the basics.
  • Leave plenty of time. Don't get caught behind a deadline. Most plagiarism occurs when students feel desperate or rushed.

  • Make sure you understand the assignment. Ask questions in advance that will help you avoid the feeling of being "lost" or overwhelmed.

  • Research wisely. Use your research skills for more than a quick web search - learn how to use search engines and the library to find the best possible sources for your projects.

  • Make your bibliography as you work. RefWorks can do all this for you and more!

  • Double-check your papers with Turnitin. Ask your teacher about this tool.

  • Make the assignment personal. Try to make assignments important to you. Where possible, tweak topics or arguments to put your own spin on them. Look for what you can learn from the project, not just for the grade you'll receive at the end.


Gilmore, B. (2008). Plagiarism: why it happens, how to prevent it. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.