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Plagiarism and Citing Sources (Health Affairs): Citing Sources

Citing Sources

Properly citing sources helps you avoid committing plagiarism. If you use someone else's research, thoughts or ideas to support your own arguments, you should properly acknowledge the author.

By acknowledging all sources that have informed your research, you are drawing a clear line between your original ideas and those of others.

Academic work, whether in the form of research papers, lab reports, exams, group rounds, or any other assignment, should ALWAYS contain proper citations!

If the information is available, most citations should include the following:

  • Title of article
  • Author name(s) or editor name(s)
  • Title of book, journal, or website
  • Volume and issue number
  • Date of publication
  • Page number(s)
  • Website URL

Citation Styles

Your citations will look different depending on which citation style you are using. Sometimes your instructor may require that you use a specific style such as NLM, APA, or AMA.

Citations styles vary from one academic field to another as well as from one publication to another. If you are writing a paper for a Sociology class, you might use a different style than you would for a Pharmacy class.

If you are submitting a paper to a scholarly journal, the publisher may request that your citations be in a particular style. Your professor may also let you know which format you will use in his or her class.

If you are unsure which citation style is most appropriate for the work you are doing, consult your professor, or a librarian.

A style guide (such as those available through the Health Sciences Library) can help you learn how to cite sources in a particular style.


Original Source
Type of Item: Journal article retrieved through PubMed
Author: Paul Wicker
Title: Plagiarism: Understanding and Management
Journal: Journal of Perioperative Practice
Date of Publication: August 2007
Volume: 17
Issue: 8
Pages: 372, 377-382

NLM (National Library of Medicine)

In the reference list: 1.  Wicker P. Plagiarism: understanding and management. J Perioper Pract. 2007 Aug;17(8):372, 377-82.
In the text: (1)

APA (American Psychological Association)

In the reference list: Wicker, P. (2007). Plagiarism: Understanding and management. Journal of perioperative practice, 17(8), 372, 377-82.
In the text: (Wicker, 2007)

AMA / Vancouver (American Medical Association / Vancouver)

In the reference list: (1) Wicker P. Plagiarism: understanding and management. J.Perioper.Pract. 2007 Aug;17(8):372, 377-82.
In the text: (1)


Reference software can help you keep track of all of your sources and format your citations in the correct style.

RefWorks and EndNote are two popular programs. If you use Firefox as your browser, you can explore Zotero, a free extension to Firefox that is very similar to RefWorks.

The Health Science Library provides online tutorials and offers classes and one-on-one consultations on reference software. See links in the charts below.

Comparing reference managers

HSL Online Guides Endnote Mendeley Zotero F1000Workspace
Classes at HSL See here See here  
Cost Full: Under $100 through UNC-CH
Basic: free via Web

Free to everyone
UNC-CH Add-ons

Free to everyone Free through UNC-CH
How is it used? Full: Your Computer
Basic: Web
Your computer
and the Web
Your computer
and the Web
Major citation styles?
Annotation of PDFs
Locate full-text using UNC-CH subscriptions


Adds citation from a PDF
Sharing options X7 users have sharing options / email compressed libraries UNC-CH members have unlimited groups See group options here
Share unlimited projects and manuscripts
Free online storage Unlimited with X7 5,000+ papers
(UNC-CH members have more space)
700+ papers
(more space can be purchased)
Word Processor Microsoft Word Microsoft Word
LibreOffice (latest)
Microsoft Word
LibreOffice (all)
Microsoft Word
Google Docs