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Interpersonal Communications (COM 3131): Citing Sources - APA Style

Learn ideas & keywords for search strategies in the field of interpersonal communication.


What is copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the authors of “original works of authorship.”
Copyright is available for literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. The 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to distribute and authorize others to distribute their works in legally specfied ways. It is illegal for anyone to violate any of the rights provided by the copyright law to the owner of copyright.
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Fair Use

 What is fair use?

Copyright is limited. The 1976 Copyight Act establishes limitations on these rights. One limitation is the doctrine of fair use.    

Fair use allows for limited reproduction for purposes, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research
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APA Documentation

Tools for Citation

Most subscription/academic databases have their own built-in citation tools.  For example, in EBSCOhost databases, look for "Cite," and in Gale databases, look for "Citation Tools." Remember, databases are only as good as the individual who entered the data, so use the automated citations as a skeleton from which to build.  For more in-depth information on citation, refer to or the other sites below.


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Plagiarism is cheating.
Cite your sources.


Just like the picture at right, plagiarism is a form of cheating. Although fair use doctrine (see below) allows for a copyrighted

work--and most works are copyrighted unless in the public domain--to be used for research and teaching, that limitation does not come without the responsiblity of its user. Give credit where it is due. Unless general knowledge (e.g., a date or anything generally undebatable), be sure to cite your sources when you engage in any of the following:

  • Quoting
  • Paraphrasing
  • Summarizing

Citing your sources is the right thing to do!