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Skidmore College
Writing and Research in Art History

Student Academic Resources


Whenever you draw on other sources (books, articles, web sites) in your writing, it is essential that you cite those sources properly. To not do so constitutes plagiarism, which the Skidmore Guide to Writing defines as:

Presenting as one's own the work of another person (for example, the words, ideas, information, data, evidence, organizing principles, or style of presentation of someone else). Plagiarism includes paraphrasing or summarizing without acknowledgment, submission of another student's work as one's own, the purchase of prepared research or completed papers or projects, and the unacknowledged use of research or completed papers or projects, and the unacknowledged use of research sources gathered by some one else. Failure to indicate accurately the extent and precise nature of one's reliance on other sources is also a form of plagiarism. The student is responsible for understanding the legitimate use of sources, the appropriate ways of acknowledging his or her academic, scholarly, or creative indebtedness, and the consequences for violating the Skidmore Honor Code. The Academic Integrity Board and the Board of Review will not regard claims of ignorance, of unintentional error, and of academic or personal pressures as an adequate defense for violations of the Honor Code (Skidmore Guide to Writing/Documentation and Plagiarism).

The Skidmore Guide to Writing specifies the types of offenses involving plagiarism:

  1. Minor offenses: e.g., failure to acknowledge the source(s) of a few phrases, sentences, or an idea (though not an idea of importance to the thesis or central purpose of the paper or project).
  2. More serious offences: e.g., failure to acknowledge the quotation or paraphrase of a few longer, paragraph-length sections of a paper, failure to acknowledge the source(s) of a major idea or the source(s) of important pieces of evidence or information, or the source(s) for an ordering principle central to the paper's or project's structure.
  3. Major Offenses: e.g., failure to acknowledge the source (quoted, paraphrased, or summarized) of major sections of passages in a paper or project, the unacknowledged use of several major ideas or extensive reliance on another person's data, evidence, or critical method; submitting as one's own, work borrowed, stolen, or purchased from someone else.

For further information about the consequences of plagiarism, refer to the Skidmore Guide to Writing section on plagiarism and its consequences.

When do you cite sources?

You must always cite sources whether the citation is in the form of a quotation, a summary, or a paraphrasing of someone else's ideas. Here is how the Skidmore Guide to Writing defines each:

  • Quotation: Taking from another source the exact words of the author and using them in your own written work. The words need to begin and conclude with a quotation mark.
  • Summary: Taking lengthy passages from a source, reformulating or outlining them in your own words, and using them in your own written work. Summarized material is not enclosed in quotation marks.
  • Paraphrase: Taking short passages from a source, restating the content of the passage, reconstructing the passage phrase by phrase, and rephrasing the author's words in your own. Paraphrased material is not enclosed in quotation marks.

What format should you use for citing sources?

The Art History faculty prefers that you use the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, because it provides the standard format for most art history writing.

Scroll through the Chicago web site for specifics on each type of citation (e.g. Book, Article, Web site). NOTE: The web site lists two different ways of citing for each: (1) the footnote/endnote with bibliography version (N & B), which is the preferred version for most of the faculty, and (2) the in-text (or parenthetical) with reference list entry (T & R). Check with your instructor as to which system s/he prefers.

The linked writing samples demonstrate how to use correctly the citation formats we prefer.

One of the major goals of the Art History major is to write well about art and its history. Remember that good writing is not only what you say and how you say it, but the format or style you use in saying it.