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HUEN 1010: (Axel) Write it Well: Reflections


Is Copying ok Sometimes?

Generic phrases in scholarly literature are not considered part of a person's 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…


What do you think about common knowledge?

Well-known facts do not need attribution:

  • 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 all your bibliographic citations and in-text citations
  • Check that any URL you provide is working
  • Double dipping is not ok: using the same content for more than one class without alerting the instructor


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