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Critical Thinking About Sources

Information about Plagiariam

Illustration of student writing and reading book with a caption for the definition of plagiarism which is the act of presenting another's work or ideas as your own

What is it?

  • It's not just taking words, it's taking ideas and using them as your own without giving credit
  • It is usually not deliberate – it is generally a result of poor note taking or lack of organization
  • If you give credit by way of a citation, then you’re usually ok.
  • If you are unsure whether to give credit or not, cite the source just to be safe.
  • For more information on citing safely, visit the citation help page.

What can happen if I do plagiarize?

  • A lot will depend upon whether it's intentional or unintentional
  • You may initially receive a warning
  • You could also receive a failing mark on the paper or fail the class altogether
  • It could be reported and added to your academic file
  • In some extreme circumstances it can be grounds for expulsion
  • Do you know your Professor's policies on plagiarism?

How do you know?

Image of a chart for Actions that might be seen as plagiarism

From "Avoiding Plagiarism," Purdue Online Writing Lab

Avoiding Plagiarism

Illustration of a person holding bulb over student's head showing he has gotten a bright idea

How can anyone tell anyhow?

  • Professors can Google too...
  • Professors can usually tell when a student is writing "out of voice"
  • Incomplete or missing information on bibliographies is always a tell-tale sign
  • Professors that require students to submit via Turnitin are presented with any unusual amount of text that overlaps with a published document; however, it is up to each Professor to make the final determination. This is another reason to make sure these types of passages are contained in quotes and properly cited.

Yikes! How can I avoid it?

  • Use reputable sources and track where you are getting your information from
  • Develop your own ideas
  • Keep your research organized - use note cards
  • Email articles to yourself and keep them in a class or assignment folder
  • Create your bibliography as you go, as opposed to sorting it out after you have written your paper
  • Use the personal profile tools in EBSCO and other aggregators that allows you to save the articles you find and access them later
  • Check out organizational tools such as citation managers like Zotero or Academic Writer.
  • Ask your librarian for assistance!

Cite your sources