Avoiding Plagiarism

Plagiarism

How Can I Be Sure I’m Not Plagiarizing?

Why Shouldn’t I Plagiarize?

  1. Plagiarism is a form of theft. It can have legal consequences.
  2. Rather than plagiarizing, citing shows how much time and effort you put in to research your topic. It shows what you have learned about a topic, and it helps your reader understand what you have written.
  3. Doing your own work improves your research skills and helps you develop skills in analyzing, planning, organizing, time management and attention to detail.
  4. Plagiarizing can put your education and career at risk.
  5. To many people, plagiarism is viewed as morally and ethically wrong. A person who plagiarizes is often considered to be someone who can’t be trusted.

Information adapted from

Academic Integrity at Princeton "What is Plagiarism?" Retrieved 08/13/09.
Georgetwn Academic Resource Center "Avoiding Plagiarism" Retrieved 08/13/09.
"How Not to Plagiarize" by Margaret Procter. Retrieved 08/13/09 from Writing at the University of Toronto
The Owl at Purdue "Avoiding Plagiarism" (2008) Retrieved 08/13/09.
Virtual Salt "Anti-Plagiarism Strategies for Research Papers" by R. Harris, 06/14/09. Retrieved 08/13/09.

5 Rules for Citing Sources

Direct Quotation

Rules for Citing

Requires citation no matter how large or small the quotation. Use quotation marks and use citation note.

When to Use

Use direct quotes when you need to: support your argument; present a phrase you want remembered; provide a specific example; summarize an author’s points; introduce another’s claim or argument.

When Not to Use

Avoid quoting: a lot of details; commonly known information; long sections of text that could by summarized or more selectively quoted; information you could probably state better in your own words.

How to Cite

Put footnote immediately after end quotation marks.

Paraphrase

Rules for Citing

Restating another person's thoughts or ideas in your own words. The ideas belong to someone else. You must rewrite the original wording, change the sentence structure, and cite the source.

When to Use

Use paraphrasing when you want to present an author’s idea but not his words.

When Not to Use

Avoid paraphrasing: to disguise someone else’s ideas as your own; when you can state it more clearly in your own words; when it fits better in the flow of the paper in your own words.

How to Cite

Put footnote at end of sentence or paragraph.

Summary

Rules for Citing

Looser form of paraphrasing – condensing and rearranging the ideas - need to be cited, usually at the end of your paragraph.

When to Use

Use a summary to shorten the ideas of experts or authorities – then use to support, dispute, or improve your ideas.

When Not to Use

Avoid summarizing if it is not relevant to your own ideas or does not add interest or support to your own paper.

How to Cite

Put footnote at end of sentence or paragraph.

Facts, Information, and Data

Rules for Citing

For most facts, you must acknowledge the source. You do not have to cite a source for a fact that is generally known and accepted eg. George Washington was the first President of the United States.

When to Use

Use facts & information to support your arguments. If in doubt as to whether it is "common knowledge", always cite.

When Not to Use

Avoid using facts & information to fill up pages or if you cannot connect them to your own ideas or argument.

How to Cite

If not common knowledge, put footnote as close as possible to the information.

Supplementary Information

Rules for Citing

Additional information to support an argument, offer a contrasting opinion, or document resources that might be of interest to your readers.

When to Use

Use as needed. To support, contrast or document.

How to Cite

Put footnote as close as possible to the information.

Test Yourself