Writing essays and papers is a big part of most students’ post-secondary academic journeys.

For students new to academia, or those returning after a few years off, it can be daunting to know where to start and how to maintain academic integrity.

Academic integrity is a foundation of higher education. It’s a commitment to avoid dishonesty or misrepresentation in the work that you submit in your classes.

An integral part of maintaining academic integrity is to give proper credit when you are incorporating the research, findings, statistics, or work of others into an assignment. Failing to do so can result in charges of plagiarism, a serious offence in Canadian universities. It can result in a failing grade on your paper, in the class or, if you have had multiple issues with plagiarism, getting expelled from university altogether.

At University Canada West, and many Canadian universities, the proper method of giving credit is to follow the rules of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, known more commonly as APA Style.

APA Style requires that you cite sources for anything in a paper that is not your own words or thoughts. Students must provide citations for things like other people’s ideas, even if you are presenting them in your own words; using someone else’s exact words, quotations or phrases; and any images, figures, diagrams or charts used.

You do not need to provide a citation for your own opinion, interpretation or analysis, or for things considered to be common knowledge, like the fact that water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius.

APA Style outlines the specific ways to cite sources.

And APA Style does not just dictate how to give credit to sources used in your work and avoid plagiarism. It also outlines how your paper should be formatted – from the order of sections to font size, spacing and how to number your pages.

Want to learn more about APA Style? UCW’s Library has created a variety of videos, handouts, presentations and other resources to help familiarize students with APA Style guidelines.

The Library is hosting two upcoming workshops, APA Style & Avoiding Plagiarism. The hour-long sessions are on Thursday, November 5 at 3:30 pm (PST) and Friday, November 13 at 9 am (PST).

You can find it all under the Library tab in the MyUCW Student Portal.