In search of an honest citation

By: Jamison Wagner, Staff Reporter

Citing sources for an academic paper can be difficult at times, and students can find themselves needing assistance on appropriate sources for any given topic or course, said Stephanie Avila, Nursing major.
Some resources available in addition to the CNM library database are the free tutoring services provided on campus. Most teachers can help with resources during office hours.
One of the challenges that Avila faces is the English class she is attending this semester that requires sources be from the database administered by CNM, she said.
“Sometimes I cannot find things in there and then I am like, ‘Oh no!’ This can be really frustrating for me,” said Avila.
Students shouldn’t use Wikipedia because the website is not a recommended source and just about anyone has access to edit the website which it is not peer reviewed said Xing Yu, English instructor.
“Wikipedia pages can be good for starting a search, but the writer of the page could be biased. Therefore, his or her selection of the cited material to back up the page may be biased as well,” she said.
In order to find good resources for citations, students should use the many databases available on campus, she said. Google Scholar is also a resource but can show sites that charge for cited source materials. Research Gate is a science-based search engine that students can sign up for to find peer-reviewed articles with, she said.
One of the resources CNM has that students can access is located on the CNM website in Student Resources under Libraries.
The page allows a CNM student to search for books in the CNM database and if the book is available as an eBook, the student can then open and read the book or search for specific words or phrases for citation purposes.
Students can receive assistance with their English papers at the tutoring center on campus, said KC McKillip, English and writing tutor.
“We have the MLA handbook for how to cite sources here at the tutoring center, but it can be confusing at times and one of the tutors can help with that,” she said.
The most common issue students will face is plagiarism. Sometimes it is on purpose; other times it is completely by accident, she said.
“The biggest mistake that students make is either looking at the source while writing the paper or copy/pasting from a source and thinking, ‘I am going to rewrite that,’ and then the student forgets to do so. That is what I see is a bigger problem than citing correctly,” she said.
Students have to be careful to avoid plagiarism—even by accident–as a student can get a zero on a paper that was written for a class if there is any plagiarism, even if it was accidental, she said.
“Even if a student does not attribute correctly, if he or she shows it was obtained from somewhere else, that is better than not showing and trying to pretend it is the student’s own work,” she said.
One of the recommended websites for learning how to cite sources properly is Purdue Owl, McKillip said. Purdue Owl offers articles that cover everything from the writing process to grammar and also how to write graduate school applications.
For more information on CNM tutoring center locations for assistance with writing English papers, visit or go to for a list of database sources.

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