Answered By: Laurie Bastien
Last Updated: Jan 07, 2019     Views: 264

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), researchers must not "claim the words and ideas of another as their own; they give credit where credit is due" (APA, 2010, p. 15). So, when writing academic papers or creating projects, you must

1. give proper credit for words, ideas, graphics, or other information you borrow from others,


2. help readers find sources you used in case they want to learn more. These sources are considered "recoverable data" (APA, 2010, p. 180).

Therefore, it may seem strange that you may be required to cite your own work, particularly because your work has probably not been published and there is no "recoverable data." However, if you are using information from a previous paper you've written or from a project you've completed in a past assignment or class, it is appropriate to self-cite in order to avoid self-plagiarism.

To cite or quote from a previous work you've created, simply treat yourself as the author of an unpublished paper.

For example, if Jane Doe wants to cite a paper she wrote in her Comp I class, her in-text citation would look like this:

Doe (2012) argued that more funding is needed in order to expand wind energy alternatives.

In the Reference list, the full citation would look like this:

Doe, J. (2012, November 17). The cost of alternative wind energy. Unpublished manuscript, Best University, Anytown USA.

[Be aware that the full Reference page citation is double spaced and formatted with a hanging indent.]

If your original document contained citations from other sources, you must include those same citations in your current work. For example, if Jane Doe had cited information from Schweppes and Ale in her first paper, her new citation would look like this:

According to Doe (2012), top environmental scientists "Schweppes and Ale (2008) agree that there is a need for better economic incentives in order for municipalities to invest in alternative wind energies" (p. 3).

Note: Treat your original work as a secondary source. Therefore, your original work would be added to the Reference page, not the Schweppes and Ale source. 


  • Secondary Sources

    Learn how to use and cite secondary sources, that is, sources that discuss or cite material originally presented in another, or primary, source.

    Academic Writer

    © 2016 American Psychological Association.

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