How to Use Proper Citation and Avoid Plagiarism in Your STEM Assignments

Proper citation is crucial for any student studying STEM fields, where assignments often involve
coding, programming, and working with complex languages such as Python, C++, and JavaScript. Whether you’re studying at a university or taking an online course, it’s essential to understand the best practices for citing sources and avoiding plagiarism.

Here are some tips to help you master proper citation and avoid plagiarism in your STEM assignments.

Why Proper Citation is Important

Citing sources correctly gives credit to the original author and acknowledges their work. It also helps to avoid plagiarism, which is the act of using someone else’s work without giving proper credit. Plagiarism is not only unethical, but it can also lead to serious academic consequences.

Techniques for Proper Citation

Understand Your Citation Style: Different citation styles have different rules and formats. The most common citation styles used in STEM are APA, MLA, and Chicago. Make sure you know which style is required for your assignment and familiarize yourself with its rules.

Keep Track of Your Sources:

Keep a record of all the sources you use in your research. This can include books, journals, websites, and interviews. You can use tools like Zotero or Mendeley to manage your sources and generate citations.

Use In-Text Citations:

In-text citations are used to acknowledge the source of a particular quote, paraphrase, or idea in the body of your assignment. Make sure to follow the rules of your citation style for in-text citations.

Create a Reference List:

A reference list is a list of all the sources you used in your assignment. Make sure to include all the necessary information about each source, such as the author’s name, the title of the work, the publication date, and the page numbers.

Avoiding Plagiarism

Paraphrase and Summarize:

When using information from a source, try to paraphrase or summarize it in your own words. This shows that you understand the information and can communicate it effectively.

Use Quotations:

If you need to use a direct quote, make sure to put it in quotation marks and include an in-text citation to acknowledge the source.

Use Plagiarism Detection Tools:

There are many online tools available to check for plagiarism, such as Turnitin and Grammarly. These tools can help you identify any instances of unintentional plagiarism in your work.

Develop Your Own Voice:

Your assignments should reflect your own ideas and thoughts. Try to develop your own voice and style of writing, and make sure to properly cite any sources that influenced your work.


As a STEM student, it’s important to master the skills of proper citation and avoiding plagiarism. By recognizing the significance of correctly citing sources, managing them, and preventing plagiarism, you can create excellent assignments and uphold academic integrity. It’s crucial to adhere to your citation style’s guidelines, employ in-text citations and reference lists, and develop a unique writing voice.

Remember to continually study, code, and learn through resources like GitHub and bootcamps to enhance your understanding of software engineering and computer languages. Additionally, maintaining security in your coding is essential. Don’t forget to utilize interviews and courses to further your knowledge and program effectively.

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