How Do I Avoid Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is copying another person’s work or borrowing someone’s original ideas without giving credit to the author for their work or ideas. 

Examples of plagiarism:
  • Buying a term paper or having someone to write a paper for you
  • Cutting and pasting from online sources to create a paper
  • Submitting a paper written for one class to fulfill an assignment in another class
  • Using a source too closely when paraphrasing
You can avoid plagiarism by citing sources used in a paper and properly paraphrasing the ideas in those sources. 
Citing Sources
Whenever your use the words, ideas, statistics, images or key phrases created by someone else in your writing, you must give credit to the original author by citing the source. Your professor may require you to use a particular style for citing sources, such as the MLA (Modern Language Association) style or APA (American Psychological Association) style. Each discipline usually has a style manual that governs the writing conventions and the citation formats of that discipline.
You must cite: You do not need to cite:
  • Direct quotes, whether whole sentences/passages or just a phrase
  • Paraphrasese of another person's ideas
  • Information you obtained through an interview, or online
  • Reprinted pictures, charts, maps, illustrations, films, videos, TV or radio broadcasts.
  • Your own experiences, ideas, or opinions
  • Results from your own experiement
  • Sayings or quotations that are well known, such as "A penny saved is a penny earned" or "Ask not what your country can do for you..."
  • Common knowledge, such as the average temperature of the human body is 98.6 degrees.
When you restate the author’s ideas in your own words, you are paraphrasing. You must still include a citation to the passage, because the ideas are not yours.
Paraphrasing tips:
  • Read the passage several times so you are sure you understand it
  • Hide it and write your own version of the ideas without looking at the original text
  • Be sure you are not just rearranging or replacing a few words
  • Begin your paraphrase with “According to So-and-so” to alert your reader that what follows are someone else’s ideas

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