The Research Process

Finishing Your Paper & Project

This section of the guide will cover the final step: 

8. Write Your Paper or Complete Your Project

Where can I get Help Writing?

  • Clarkson University Writing Center Are you stuck somewhere in the writing process? Could you use some help? Clarkson’s Writing Center provides one-on-one consultations in a collaborative environment to help you develop and improve your written papers or projects. We’re here to assist with academic papers of all sorts, such as lab reports, essays, research papers, honors theses, presentations and conference posters, as well as post-grad and professional projects, including grad school essays, resumes, cover letters, professional websites and even LinkedIn content. Schedule an appointment (ideally!) — or walk-in and we’ll help if there’s an opening — bring your paper or assignment and the desire to improve and let’s get writing!

What About Citations?

Plagiarism is to “to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own : use (another’s production) without crediting the source,” according to Merriam Webster’s dictionary. 

For more about plagiarism, see our guide.

Plagiarism is a serious intellectual offense. However, if you are aware of what constitutes plagiarism, and strive to avoid it, there is nothing to be worried about.

Here are four common types of plagiarism:

Direct Plagiarism

Direct plagiarism occurs when a student copies the work of another author verbatim without citing the source and without using quotation marks. Think “Cut-and-Paste”.

from Bowdoin College: An Example of Direct Plagiarism

Self Plagiarism

Self-plagiarism occurs when a student “Recycles” material from another one of his or her own papers without citing that paper as a source.

Mosaic Plagiarism

Mosaic plagiarism occurs when a student “Cherry-picks” words, phrases or more general concepts from another source, then finds synonyms or changes the wording slightly, without acknowledging the source.

from Bowdoin College: An Example of Mosaic Plagiarism

Accidental Plagiarism

Accidental plagiarism occurs when a student forgets or neglects to properly cite his sources. Not knowing what consititutes plagiarism, making errors in attribution, or simply forgetting still results in an offense.

Citing your paper is very important for many reasons:

  1. It gives credit to the original author or researcher.
  2. It helps strengthen your argument by showing you have support from other resources, not just your own opinion. In short, it makes your paper better. 
  3. It allows your reader to find more sources on your topic if they want to do further reading.
  4. If you don’t do it, you could get into trouble for plagiarism! 

Our reference librarians can offer citation assistance in person at the lirbary or at

You can also see our citation style guides on our Citing Sources page.

Zotero is a free, easy-to-use citation management tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share research. Zotero allows you to save the citation information from your sources as you research and then import citations into Microsoft Word or Google Docs as you write your paper. 

To download Zotero, visit

For beginning steps to using Zotero, please see our guide.

If you need help learning how to use Zotero, our librarians can help. Contact us at