Answered By: Reference Staff
Last Updated: May 01, 2019     Views: 102

Basically, plagiarism means copying the words or ideas of others without giving them credit (that is presenting someone else's work as your own).  Consider it the same as cheating and theft. 

Sometimes it may be done unintentionally. The best way to avoid plagiarism is to understand what it is. Read, understand, and  comply with the University's Academic Misconduct Policy. 

Below are examples that typically come up in writing assignments.

  • Presenting statistics, facts, or ideas that are not your own, or are not common knowledge, without citation.
  • Using a direct quote from a source and not using quotation marks, in-text citation, and reference.
  • Paraphrasing a source and not using in-text citation and reference.
  • Citing a source with fake bibliographical information.
  • Selling or purchasing (or copying) papers, assignments, or exams from another student, or from any website that buys or sells them. This also applies if only partially used in student submission.
  • Writing a paper for another student.
  • Submitting a paper, assignment, or exam that you used in previous class and received credit for (even if the topics are the same) without requesting and receiving in writing prior permission from your new instructor. This also applies to “revising” papers, assignments, or exams that were previously submitted.
  • Copying an image, audio, video, spreadsheet, PowerPoint presentation, etc., without proper citation and reference.

The best way to avoid plagiarism in writing is to be aware of your sources while researching and writing your paper. 

  • Keep track of your research before you write.
    • Databases often have ways to save your citations or articles in a folder;
    • Use citation managers to keep up with your citations. 
  • Check that you paraphrase or quote your sources correctly as you write.
  • Before turning in your paper, double-check you've correctly cited your sources.
    • Use a style guide.

(Credit: Adapted from Richard G. Trefy Library)

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