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Writing and Citing

Information about Plagiariam

Plagiarism: the act of presenting another's work or ideas as your own. 


What is it?

  • Cartoon drawing of atudent writing and reading book with a textIt'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?

Actions that might be seen as plagiarism:

(Ranked from deliberate to possibly accidental, #5)

  1. Buying, stealing, or borrowing a paper
  2. Hiring someone to write your paper
  3. Copying from another source without citing (on purpose or by accident)
  4. Building on someone's ideas without citation
  5. Using the source too closely when paraphrasing

chart for Actions that might be seen as plagiarism from delibrate to possibly accidental

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