Some students may innocently use research to back up their theories but not give the due credit to the researching authority! And that constitutes plagiarism! There may also arise problems with copyright law. Students are often very liberal in using web-based imagery, compositions, films, as well as other multimedia and incorporating it into their classroom projects. Its not surprising and its not wrong unless you do give credit where its due.
If you do not use the rules of fair use and copyright law, then there are serious problems of your research being considered as plagiarized and you may serious action taken against you! But there are several ways that you can use research from another source and it to back up your own theories and that is called as citations and formatting!
Citations are one way to using other peoples research to back up a completely new idea of your own. All you have to do is use different citation styles to attribute research to a previous author and you are free of any problems. Teachers advise students who are going to be writing a research paper to follow a few simple procedures. It works somewhat like this,
o Listen to lectures given by professors and jot down notes but when you do start writing your own topic for your essay find something totally original.
o Ask for opinions from prominent people in the field of your research but do write your opinion of you think of their ideas.
o Credit to previous researchers is given by citing their research but use their research to write your own original theorem.
Citations are done by using MLA, APA and Chicago styles of citation where you can get you use a set format to tell your readers about the original research and the researchers you based your idea on.
o APA style or the American Psychological Association is one of the most commonly used styles where you can use the citation style to cite sources in social sciences. This formatting book is now in its 5th edition and is commonly used by professors in literary fields.
o MLA or the Modern Language Association style of formatting is the most commonly used style by almost all literary writers. The style is used to write papers as well as to cite sources in liberal arts and humanities. The main handbook is called the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (6th ed.) and is in wide spread use.
o The Chicago Manual of Style is also called as the CMS or CMOS, or Chicago style guide for American English publishing since the 1906s.
Although all of the citation styles are simple, the most commonly use format for Research paper format is the MLA style!