During your student career, you are often asked to complete a variety of presentations and papers. These assignments may be persuasive or informative, but whatever effect they are designed to have on the audience or reader, the information you use in them must be cited. Not citing facts that you obtained from an outside source, such as the United States Department of Agriculture, is viewed as plagiarism. In school, plagiarism may result in a failing grade on your project or worse.
Cite the United States Department of Agriculture as you speak in your presentations. This lends authority to your statements and gives your audience a reason to take what you say seriously. If you have a fact from the USDA, introduce it with "The USDA recommends ..." or "According to the USDA ..." The actual words you use to introduce the information may be different as long as you cite the USDA as your source.
Cite the USDA in the body of a paper in one of two ways, depending on the purpose of your paper. For a formal paper, write the fact, then put the author's last name and the page number of your source in parentheses after it. For example, if a man with the last name "Smith" wrote a statement on page 5 of an article, saying "Eating too much fat and sugar is bad for you," you must write "(Smith 5)" if you use this fact in the paper.
For journalistic-style articles, you may cite the USDA in the same way you would in a presentation. For example, say "The USDA states ..." or "The United States Department of Agriculture suggests ..."
Cite the USDA in your "Works Cited" section in differing ways depending on the form of your source, such as an article or website. To reference an article from the USDA website, write "United States Department of Agriculture," then the year of the article, as well as the month, if available. Write the article name in italics. If the information was obtained from an online brochure, write "[Brochure]." Write "Retrieved from" and the link to the information you used.
If you got your information from the USDA website, but it does not have a clear author, do not include it on the Works Cited page. Instead, write the exact link to the source in the body of your paper after writing "The USDA ..."
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