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This is the "What is Plagiarism?" page of the "Avoiding Plagiarism" guide.
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Avoiding Plagiarism   Tags: storage  

Last Updated: Aug 18, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

What is Plagiarism? Print Page

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is using someone else's words, ideas, or work and claiming that it is your own or failing to give them proper credit.  The chart on this page explains the variety of plagiarism, which includes intentional, self-plagiarism, and unintentional.

Intentional Plagiarism:  Taking credit for someone's work, when you understand that what you're doing is wrong

Using a paper from the internet

Copying someone else's paper

Copying large amounts of someone else's work and putting it into your text.

Self-Plagiarism: Reusing your own work in a diferent context

Using a paper that you've already written for a different course

Using large parts of another one of your papers without your professor's permission

Unintentional Plagiarisim:  Not giving someone else credit for their work, even if you didn't understand that what you're doing is wrong

Not properly citing your sources either in your paper or in your Work Cited page

Paraphrasing a work with language that is too close to the original 

Not citing a class discussion or discussion with a classmate because you didn't realize that you needed to


The Different Shades of Plagiarism

Plagiarism is not a black and white issue. While hitting Ctrl. c then Ctrl. v (that's copy and paste) is definitely plagiarizing there are more subtle forms that you should watch out for.

many shades of plagiarism


Top 10 Things You Need to Know in Order to Avoid Plagiarism

  1. Start Early - Don't procrastinate. If you have to choose a topic for a research paper or if you are assigned a topic, get started early. Consider the due date and the steps involved in completing the assignment. Then plan backwards using a daily planner. Leaving researching and writing your paper until the last minute increases one's temptation to plagiarize.
  2. Understand the Definition of Plagiarism - Failing to credit the author for ideas - not only the words - you borrow in a paper is plagiarizing. You have to cite the sources for every source you use.
  3. Understand how to Cite Sources Properly - Citing sources improperly results in plagiarizing even if you don't intend it. Make sure you know how t cite quotes, paraphrases and summaries properly.
  4. Use Reliable Sources - Be critical of the sources you choose. Don't believe everything you read. Look for the most reliable, updated sources. Good sources produce good information, which decreases the likelihood of plagiarism.
  5. Take Notes on your Sources as you do your Research - Reading and highlighting articles are the first steps in note-taking, but don't stop there. Prepare note cards of quotes, paraphrases and summaries (indicating the source) as you go along. Students who wait until they are writing their draft to take notes increase their changes for plagiarism.
  6. When in Doubt, Cite! - Use the correct citation and style guide for your assignment and include both in-text and a Works Cited or Reference page.
  7. Make your own Voice Heard - Don't worry if your sentence does not sound as sophisticated as the author's. Your instructors are interested in hearing your voice in the paper. Paraphrasing the author's words shows the instructor that you have understood what you have read. A paraphrase that resembles the original too closely is plagiarism.
  8. Don't Overwhelm yourself with Sources - Find out how many sources your instructor is requiring for the paper. Don't feel you need to check out every book on this topic. A good research paper simple proves its thesis with a sufficient number of sources in order to convince the reader to accept the writer's position. Create a dialogue among authors who agree. Point to authors who disagree. Using too many sources is overwhelming and may increase your likelihood of plagiarizing.
  9. Do your own Work - Anytime you pass of someone else's ideas as your own you are plagiarizing. This includes buying papers from Internet sources, having a friend write your paper and cutting and pasting information from other sources directly into your paper. Plagiarism is a serious offense and can result in a student failing the paper or even the course.
  10. Check your Work - After you have finished writing the paper and your Works Cited or Reference page, review it. Make sure that you haven't left out a parenthetical reference (they go inside the parenthesis like this in your paper). Make sure your bibliography is properly formatted.

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