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Library Research Skills: Information has Value

Library Research Skills

Information has Value

Creation of information and products derived from information requires a commitment of time, original thought, and resources that need to be respected by those seeking to use these products, or create their own based on the work of others. 

 Learning goals include:

  • Give credit to the original ideas of others through proper attribution and citation.
  • Understand that intellectual property is a social construct that varies by culture.
  • Articulate the purpose and distinguishing characteristics of copyright, open access, and public domain.
  • Differentiate between the production of original information and remixing or repurposing open resources.
  • Decide where their information, as knowledge creator, should be published.

Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL)   

Citation Tools


A free and open-source reference/citation management software that manages bibliographic data and enables you to add captured data to a personal library and from there create lists of bibliographic references according to different documentation styles.

Intellectual Property

Properly documenting sources used for your research paper, promotes academic honesty, provides creditability to your arguments and allows the reader to find and consult referenced sources. TII's preferred documentation style is the Modern Language Association (MLA) style of documentation. 

Strategies for Avoiding Plagiarism

The following recommendations are adapted from the Purdue Online Writing Lab tutorials:

Reading and Note-taking

  • Read critically - question what you are reading and how it fits into what you already know about a topic - or how it adds to that knowledge.
  • Identify someone else's words – use quotation marks in your notes and indicate clearly in your notes, which ideas are taken directly from a source and which are based on your own interpretations.
  • Record a source’s bibliographic details (authors, editors, book and article titles, URLs, etc.).

Proofread your paper

Proofread to ensure that sources are formatted and acknowledged appropriately:

Direct quotations
  • Use quotation marks around short quotes

  • Set longer quotes off by themselves

  • Provide a reference to the source and relevant page number(s)

  • Keep the source author's name in the same sentence as the quote

(See TII MA Thesis Guidelines for more information on quotations)


Other considerations:

  • Only quote what is necessary, and shorten quotes by removing extra information. Use ellipsis points (...) to indicate omitted text.
  • Use quotes that are relevant and support your own arguments - note that too many direct quotes from sources may weaken and/or interfere with your own arguments or interpretations.
Paraphrasing or Summarizing


When it is not neccessary to use an author's exact words, paraphrase (restate) or summarize (highlight main points) their ideas in your own words but include a reference (author and page number).

  • Use a statement that acknowledges the source in the paraphrase e.g.: According to Vennuti, ...
  • Note the name of the author (or specific work) in the sentence or throughout a paragraph where you use the author’s idea.
  • Use quotation marks around unique key phrases or words that the source’s author used to describe the idea.
  • When relevant, use parenthetical (in-text) citations, footnotes, or endnotes to refer readers to additional sources about the idea.

Disseminating your research is an important part of the academic process. It provides an opportunity for other researchers, scholars and students to include you in a scholarly conversation and recognise you as a member of an academic discourse community.

Ways of disseminating your research include:

  • Open access – distribute it through an organization’s electronic archives.
  • Present papers at conferences or seminars.
  • Publish in journals and books.

However, certain criteria should be met and concepts understood before disseminating research.

Intellectual Property
  • Intellectual property – a work or invention that is the result of original or creative output, and is protected by copyright law.
  • Copyright exists from the moment a work is created in a tangible medium of expression; and covers both published and unpublished works.

 Article 7 of Qatar's Copyright Law  protects intellectual property in the following way:

Law No. 7 of 2002 – Law of the Protection of Copyright and Neighbouring Rights.


  • Protecting your intellectual property

As author of your thesis your work is protected by copyright law and unless you have transferred this right - you have the exclusive right to reproduce, prepare derivative works and distribute it to the public.


  • Protecting others’ intellectual property

The translation and inclusion of large parts of copyright material or private material should not be distributed in digital format without the inclusion of written permission from the copyright owner. This includes extracts from publications such as books or journals, and/or illustrations (images, maps, photographs, tables etc.) and creating derivative works (translations of a work).


  • How to seek permission for including 3rd party material and translations

Determine who the copyright holder is – author, publisher, illustrator, producer, etc.

  • Contact the rights holder to seek permission to include material and/or a translation within the electronic version of your thesis
  • If you are unable to obtain permission or are asked to pay - you will not be able to make the full version of the thesis publicly available online. Select the option on the Thesis Deposit Agreement form that restricts access to the electronic version of your thesis.


  • When is it not necessary to seek permission?


Public Domain Materials

Works in the public domain can be used in another work without obtaining permission. 

  • Categories of public domain works include
    • Government works and documents
    • Works that have been assigned to the public domain by their creators (for example, Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication)
    • Works that have entered the public domain because the copyright has expired. In the USA the default copyright term includes the author’s lifetime plus 70 years.
  • Find public domain sources:

Fair Use

The Berne Convention allows for "fair" uses of copyrighted works in other publications or broadcasts without obtaining prior permission. {Note that in Qatar, local Copyright laws do not include "Fair Use"}

Fair use can be difficult to determine but most descriptions include the following conditions:

  • Purpose of use

Fair use would include the use of copyrighted works in other works for the purpose of education, scholarship, research, news reporting, as well as criticism and commentary.

  • Nature of original work

Fair use is easier to establish with published works. Making someone else's unpublished work public without their consent would not be considered fair use.

  • Amount used

This is difficult to establish as no amount is stipulated by different copyright laws.

According to the Copyright Toolkit, fair use would amount to:

  • Less than 400 words of continuous text from a book.
  • Less than 800 words of discontinuous text from a book.
  • Market Impact

Fair use would not support any work that replaced or substituted the copyrighted source and affected the market for the original work.