Deutsch für Ingenieur*innen: Citing Sources for Essays

Academic Integrity

This course is governed by the prevailing Codes of Student Conduct and of Academic Integrity of the University of Michigan and the College of Literature, Science and the Arts (LSA). All work submitted must be original student work produced for this course, with proper quotation and citation of the contributions of others. Violations of Academic Integrity will be taken seriously and can in serious cases result in a failing grade for the course and/or referral to the LSA Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education. Click here to see the official LSA pages on Academic Integrity, including a quiz on Academic Integrity.

Homework: No Need to Cite Sources!

The detailed instructions for citing sources that follow apply only to the four essay assignments in this course. They do NOT apply to the Lese-/Hörquiz assignments or other regular homework assignments. See the end of this page for advice about using and (optionally) citing sources for Lese-/Hörquiz assignments and other homework assignments.


The four essays you submit for this course are where the Academic Integrity policy crucially applies. It is your responsibility to demonstrate that your essay is your work by following the guidelines for citing sources carefully. Failure to do so may result in a citation for academic dishonesty. As the guidelines below are complex, misunderstandings may occur ==>

  • If the failure is due to an oversight or misunderstanding, I will ask you to re-submit your essay.
  • In case of minor problems, I will write “Source?” next to text that needs additional citation/explanation. This is meant to help you understand the guidelines below, not to scare you. Please clarify any questions you have about “Source?” comments before submitting your next essay!
  • Important: Please follow these guidelines while you write: you will not be able to reconstruct all of the information below after writing your essay!

Advice: You will get the most out of writing the essays for this course by using your own words wherever possible, and using dictionaries and online translators as little as possible. Applying what you have learned in and before this class, and thus “making it your own,” will “make it stick,” much more than new words and phrases you look up. Following this advice will also greatly reduce the amount of time you have to spend citing sources!

  • When you write about a German article you have read, look for opportunities to express the ideas from the article more simply in your own words. Where that is not possible or appropriate, integrate the language of the article as much as you can into your own language, so that you are actually practicing and thus learning how to use the new terminology you are taking from the article.

Guidelines for Using and Citing Sources for Essays:

  • Your essay should be your work ==> you may NOT get someone who is proficient in German to proofread your essay.
  • You CAN ask me, an instructor in the German Lab, or some other proficient speaker 3 or 4 specific questions about how to say something. Please make the relevant text BOLD and add a footnote with the helper’s name.
    • If a UofM German instructor chooses to help you with more than 3 or 4 things, you may cite the additional items in the same way.
  • Use BOLD font for ALL words/short phrases you looked up. Provide an English-German list of all of these words/phrases, and name the source(s) you used. If you used multiple sources (great!), list them line-by-line.
    • Recommended online dictionaries:, Linguee & PONS (possibly also LEO or BEOLINGUS)
  • IF you used an online translator for a longer phrase or a sentence, underline the relevant text and provide a footnote as follows:
    • Name the translator you used (e.g. Google Translate, DeepL)
    • If the translator produced the phrase/sentence, write the English phrase you entered AND everything you learned from the translation. Include vocabulary you did not know or had forgotten, verb forms, word order, genders, cases, etc. In principle, since the online translator “wrote the German for you,” it should not count towards the essay word count, BUT: the more you can explain, the more I will count the passage towards the essay word count.
    • If you used the translator to check your German, write “Checked DE,” “Checked ED” or “Checked DE/ED.” List and explain any corrections you made (including spelling, noun genders etc.). If no corrections were made, use a smiley, e.g. “Checked DE :)”
      • DE: you entered your German to see if the English made sense; ED: you entered English to see if the result is the same as your German; DE/ED: you checked both directions.
      • If you checked your entire essay (or more than half of it) in this way, write “Globally checked DE” [or ED, or DE/ED], skip the underlining, and list ALL the corrections you made.
  • I expect you to look up the genders and plurals of nouns, and the conjugation patterns of verbs you use in your essay. You do NOT need to cite your sources for this (except as described in the “online translator” section above)
  • If you used a German spellchecker (great!), name the source and provide a rough estimate of how many errors it helped you with.
    • If the spellchecker suggested non-spelling corrections, use footnotes to cite/explain these!
  • If you consult any additional sources not assigned in the course (e.g. Wikipedia or other online sources), please cite them at the end of your essay, even if you did not quote from them directly.
  • Put any direct quotes (from Wfd or elsewhere) in quotation marks and cite the source. Any format that allows me to find the specific source is acceptable.
  • Use footnotes to explain anything not covered above that sounds unlike “your” normal German: the German you produce in class, for homework, and on quizzes. For example:
    • If you worked on a sentence for a long time, describe the evolution of the sentence: corrections/changes you made, decisions about verb position, clauses you combined etc.
    • Words/phrases you recently picked up from “surprising” sources, e.g. a song, a movie, a conversation with a German-speaking friend, reading a non-assigned text, etc. For such items, descriptions such as “I heard this phrase in Babylon Berlin”; “I heard this in a YouTube video”; “I saw this in an article I read about ____”; and even “I learned this recently but can’t remember where” are acceptable.
      • No need to cite (i) anything you’ve known for a long time (ii) anything you learned in another German class (iii) words from our vocab lists, or from texts we have read in class (iv) words/phrases I (should) know you know, e.g. because you used them in class. If I annotate any such items with “Source?” please let me know my mistake!
    • Don’t worry: deciding what exactly sounds “unlike your normal German” can be tricky. Use your judgment. I will let you know if you are citing more or less than you need to in this category!
  • ***If you have no sources to cite (you didn’t look anything up in a dictionary, no one helped you, and you consulted no other sources), please write “I have carefully read the guidelines for citing sources, and have nothing to cite or explain 🙂 ” at the end!***
  • If in doubt about whether (or how) to cite something, ASK ME!!

Lesequiz/Hörquiz: You are allowed (and actually encouraged!) to work on these quizzes with one or two partners. If you do so, each partner needs to do the quiz, and you and your partner(s) must submit the quiz at the same time. Dictionary use is permitted. Any “unfair” method of obtaining the answers (e.g. by asking others who have previously taken the quiz) would constitute a serious case of academic dishonesty. Note: Use of online translators such as Google Translate or DeepL IS permitted. If you do use an online translator to analyze a sentence, take a moment after each instance to reflect consciously on what you have learned: this will make the difference between learning more and learning less!

Homework: You are allowed (and even encouraged!) to get help from others and to collaborate with classmates on homework. You may also use online translators and other sources without citing them. Although you are not required to cite your sources, I encourage you to do so if you have time. Practicing this will make it easier for you to cite sources for your essays, and allows me to give you better feedback. Above all, citing your sources in the manner described above will lead to significantly more mental processing of the new linguistic information, and thus to significantly more learning.