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Academic Integrity - Referencing, Citation & Avoiding Plagiarism: Writing Strategies

This guide explains what referencing and citation is and how to use the APA, Chicago, Harvard, MLA and Vancouver Styles. It includes a short interactive tutorial on each style.

Writing Strategies - reporting verbs

When you decide to use a citation you may need to use a reporting verb to integrate it into your text. For example "Hudson (2004) identifies the benefits of videocounselling for families of teenagers with epilepsy.”

You can use reporting verbs in the present or past tense. Before selecting a verb it is important to read the citation carefully, and to use the verb that most accurately describes the author's claim.

When the verb is active, the subject of the verb is doing the action. With a passive verb, the subject is acted upon and does not have to be named. See below for examples of how this works in academic writing.

Using Active Verbs Using Passive Verbs
Active Verbs Passive Verbs


Reporting Verbs

argues defines observes states
demonstrates identifies hypothesises shows
explains proposes concludes identifies
finds claims notes suggests
indicates describes reports presents


Note that it is also possible to cite an author without using a reporting verb. Simply restate the author’s point of view in your own words (paraphrase), or use the phrase "according to".

For example "According to Malley (2004) the accidental plagiarist is one who doesn't understand plagiarism."

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