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HUEN 1010: (Axel) Write it Well: Reflections


Is Copying ok Sometimes?

Generic phrases in scholarly literature is not considered part of intellectual property:

  • The purpose of this paper is to investigate…
  • More research should be required to answer…
  • The aid of this paper was to discover…

image of a cartoon thinking man


What about common knowledge?

Well-known facts do not need attribution. Also, your area of expertise or audience matter:

  • The earth is round
  • Christopher Columbus discovered America
  • Beethoven, a classical period composer – citation needed for a non music trained audience
  • South Africa is in the African continent

For more information on common knowledge:

Recommendation when Summarizing

Purdue OWL recommends the following when summarizing:

  • Read the entire text noting the key points and main ideas.
  • Summarize in your own words what the single main idea of the essay is.
  • Paraphrase important supporting points that come up in the essay.
  • Consider any words, phrases, or brief passages that you believe should be quoted directly.

Taken from:

Check For

  • Citations or quotations
  • Consistency on bibliographic style and in-text citations
  • Working url’s in citations
  • Double dipping – using same content for more than one class without alerting the instructor



  • Use quotation marks when using the same words of the original source and cite it
  • Use your own ideas and thoughts
  • Cite information you took from another source
  • Paraphrase and cite it
  • Common knowledge does not need citation
  • When in doubt: cite it
  • You still do not know – your librarian can help!

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