Knowing how to acknowledge and cite the work of others and assess its validity and value are important components of information literacy — the ability to discover, evaluate and use various types of information from a wide array of sources effectively. Being information-literate is a key component of critical thinking and problem-solving. These resources can help you avoid common pitfalls and become an alert, educated information consumer.
Plagiarism — the deliberate or inadvertent use of an information source other than your own without proper credit — is considered a serious breach of academic ethics and integrity. | IIRP policy statement on plagiarism
Properly acknowledging the ideas and information sources you use in your work is crucial. These resources provide practical advice about understanding and avoiding plagiarism.
- Plagiarism | Avoiding plagiarism & self-plagiarism guide (APA Style 7th edition)
- Is it plagiarism? | Safe practices | Quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing (Purdue OWL)
- Plagiarism tutorial (University of Southern Mississippi)
APA style — Key resources
The IIRP uses American Psychological Association (APA) writing style for presenting ideas and data, formatting papers, and citing sources in student assignments and scholarly publications. Learning to use APA style correctly will enable you to credit your sources accurately.
- IIRP Graduate School Writing & APA Style Guidelines
- Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition
See our APA Writing Guidelines & Help page for additional APA learning tools.
- APA adapts some reference formats for legal sources (Congressional documents, court opinions, statues, legislative and administrative/executive materials) from the latest edition of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation. See Chapter 11: Legal References in the APA Publication Manual for details.
Citation generators — online tools that offer to automatically format bibliographic references into APA or other writing styles — are becoming increasingly common. However, the quality of these tools can vary greatly; their conversion algorithms are often inaccurate, resulting in error-ridden references that require additional attention and effort to correct. Rather than being a time-saving convenience, they sometimes end up causing writers more problems than they solve. Regardless of the tools you use to format references, you have the ultimate responsiblity to ensure that your use of APA Style in your course writing assignments is accurate.
- Using citation generators responsibly (Purdue OWL)
Copyright & Fair Use
The Library promotes compliance with copyright legislation and aids IIRP students, faculty and staff in following Fair Use guidelines.
- US Copyright Law (Title 17 US Code)
- Copyright Quick Guide (Columbia University)
- Overview of US Copyright Law — Summary for academic institutions (Stanford University)
- Copyright resources for educators (teachingcopyright.org)
Fair Use (Title 17, section 107)
Fair use of a copyrighted work for nonprofit, educational purposes, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research, is not an infringement of copyright. A limited portion of any work may be used; however, use cannot affect the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. Determining fair use is a complex process that involves a four-factor analysis that is critical to any good faith fair use assertion:
- Purpose and character of the use — whether it is for commercial or nonprofit educational uses, though not all educational uses are fair use.
- Nature of the work being copied — reproducing a factual work is more likely to be fair use than a creative work.
- Amount and significance of portion being copied — reproducing smaller portions of a work is more likely to be fair use than large or essential portions.
- Effect of the copying on the market for the original — uses which have no or little market impact are more likely to be fair than those that interfere with potential markets.
Acceptable materials usually include:
- A single article from a journal.
- A single chapter or less than 10% of a book.
- Faculty-created materials such as class materials, lecture notes, slide presentations, videos or exams.
- Fair Use Evaluator (American Library Association)
- Fair Use Checklist (Columbia University)
- Fair Use FAQ (teachingcopyright.org)
Public Domain | Resources for Copyright-Free Content
- Copyright term and the public domain in the United States (Cornell University)
- Creative Commons
- Image use for educational purposes (Benedictine University) | Can I use that picture? (Infographic)
- Finding public domain & Creative Commons media: images, audio and video (Harvard University)
- Public domain FAQ (teachingcopyright.org)
Evaluating Information Sources
The ability to determine an information source's relevance and trustworthiness is a key skill for successful researchers. The IIRP Graduate School course, RP 610 Evaluation of Research, teaches students to identify and critique various types of academic literature. The resources below provide additional guidance on assessing other kinds of information.
- Evaluating sources of information (Purdue OWL)
Identifying scholarly literature
- How do you tell the difference?
- Scholarly journals | Popular magazines | Trade publications (Acadia University)
- How to read (and understand) a social science journal article (University of Michigan)
- What is peer review? (Acadia University) | Peer review in scientific publications: Benefits, critiques & a survival guide (PubMed)
- Will a website pass the CRAAP test? (Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, Purpose) (California State University, Chico) | CRAAP test rubric (Lamar State College Orange)
- SCARAB scale (Substance, Currency, Authority, Relevance, Accuracy, Bias) (Brenau University)
- Media bias chart — Ratings of accuracy and political orientation of news sources (Ad Fontes Media)
- Identifying rumors and falsehoods — How to spot fake news (FactCheck.org) | How to identify fake news in 10 steps (ProQuest) | Lists of fake news sites (CUNY)
- News fact-checking sites: FactCheck.org | PolitiFact | Poynter Institute | Snopes
- "Congratulations! We want to publish you!" Identifying predatory and pseudo-journals (Biochemia Medica via NCBI)
- Predatory publishing (overview) (George Washington University)
- Evaluating Open Access journal publishers (Benedictine University)
- Choose the right journal to publish your research: Think. Check. Submit.
- Identifying predatory conferences (George Washington University) | Spotting "spamferences" (Governor's State University)
Citation Management Tools
These free software packages and browser plug-ins let you create personal digital reference libraries: export bibliographic references and documents from EBSCOhost databases, library catalogs, websites and other sources, organize and annotate them, generate bibliographies and share them with collaborators or colleagues. They include Microsoft Word integration and APA formatting tools. Additional citation and document storage capacity and other functions are available with paid upgrades. | More about saving, exporting and emailing EBSCOhost citations
Disclaimer: These links are provided as a convenience; the IIRP is not responsible for the content or functionality of any of these sites. For help, documentation and technical questions, please contact the product's support team directly.
Capture, format and share references in a variety of formats. A free web-based version, EndNote Basic, allows you to store up to 50,000 records, organize them into shareable libraries, and automatically format them into a variety of writing styles, including APA; includes integration with Microsoft Word. | Exporting from EBSCOhost to EndNote
Powerful reference management package available in web-based or desktop versions. Intuitive interface; extensive support and documentation available. The EBSCOhost Search Results page features the Mendeley widget for easy capture of references.
A software download that works with works with your web browser, Zotero features one-click saving of references or articles, automatic downloads of PDFs and webpage snapshots, group libraries for collaboration/sharing, and web access to your data, notes and files. A companion tool, ZoteroBib, lets you build bibliographies without downloading software. | Exporting from EBSCOhost to Zotero
Information Literacy Resources for Educators
These tools from the Association for College and Research Libraries (ACRL) can help faculty, teachers and other education professionals understand and incorporate information literacy concepts into curricula and coursework.
- ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education | PDF version — Detailed conceptual structure and guidelines for teaching information literacy and assessing students' success as informed information consumers
- How information works — Plain-language summaries of the Framework's key concepts
ACRL information literacy frames
- Authority is constructed and contextual
- Information creation as a process
- Information has value
- Research as inquiry
- Scholarship as conversation
- Searching as strategic exploration
- Appendix 1: Implementing the Framework — Guidelines for faculty and administrators, with reading list
- ACRL Framework For Information Literacy Sandbox — Resources for educators teaching information literacy
- Rubrics for assessing student information literacy