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HDFS 585 & HDFS 590 - Professional Seminar/Professional Capstone in HDFS

A resource for students in HDFS 585 & 590, and starting their professional careers

Library Research Guide

Using information ethically

For more information, see our Citations and Bibliographies LibGuide

Getting the right information to someone in a timely manner is important, both in your classes and no matter what job you take after graduation. This often means repackaging professional literature into a more user-friendly format so the average person can understand things like symptoms, coping mechanisms, or basic facts about a service. However, it is just as important to avoid plagiarism in the workplace as it is in your homework assignments, whether that includes citing a government source for information you put in a brochure, or getting permission to show a DVD as part of a training session.

As a responsible researcher, make ethical use of information.

A. Respect intellectual property

1. Copyright law protects (1) literary works (2) musical works, including any accompanying words (3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music (4) pantomimes and choreographic works (5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works (6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works (7) sound recordings and (8) architectural works. 

  • Categories are interpreted broadly, so computer programs may be registered as literary works.
  • Copyright is automatic. Absence of a copyright mark or statement does NOT mean that an item is not copyrighted.
  • Copyright owners have exclusive rights of reproduction, adaptation, distribution, public performance, and display.

2. As original work that is fixed in a tangible medium, material on the Web is protected. It is illegal to grab an image off someone else's web page and put it on your web page without the permission of the copyright owner.

3. For educational purposes, some uses of copyrighted material are allowed. In general, you can use only a small part of another's work and must give credit to the source.

  • Document where your information is coming from. When using other people's words, put quotes around the words and cite your source.
  • When paraphrasing other people's words, cite that source.
  • When you've borrowed an idea from someone else, cite them.


B. Why cite?

1. To give credit to those whose work you have used (whether by direct quote or by paraphrasing). Academic ethics require that writers be credited for their work and their writing. If you intentionally or unintentionally use the work of another without giving proper credit, you have plagiarized, and it is a violation of the K-State Honor Code.

2. To provide evidence to support what you are saying.
A good bibliography of high-quality material demonstrates that your project is based on credible evidence. When well-integrated into your paper (or project), that evidence creates a strong and convincing paper or project. If your work is based on poor evidence, the credibility of your project is undermined.

3. To allow your readers to find and read your sources.
Professionals often trace back to the original sources to expand their own understanding and to use those sources in their own research.


Citation resources