Tips for Avoiding Plagiarism

  • Always cite your sources. If you needed to gather information that is not common knowledge, cite the source. This applies to both direct quotes AND to paraphrased information. Here is a list of sources of information that need to be credited or cited:
    • Any words or ideas presented in a published format (magazine, book, newspaper, song, TV program, movie, website, computer program, letter, advertisement…),
    • Information you gain from an interview via phone, email, letter, or face-to-face,
    • Any direct quote,
    • Any diagrams, illustrations, photographs, charts, or other visual material that is not your original composition,
    • Any digital media including images, audio, or video.
  • Use the format prescribed by your instructor. Different academic disciplines use different citation methods APA, MLA, or a specialized format. Regardless of what you used in other classes, use the format specified in the assignment.
  • Use quotation marks any time you directly use the words someone else spoke or wrote. Copy and paste from a website or electronic document is a quote, and MUST be included in quotation marks and cited.
  • Paraphrase the ideas from a source. Remember: even paraphrased ideas must be cited. This is tricky and requires you to understand the concepts. There is no magic formula for the number of words to change for a statement to be paraphrased. If you cannot restate the concept in your own words, you should use a direct quote.
  • Do not resubmit your own work or ideas for multiple assignments. This is self-plagiarism.  You can cite your previous work (if permitted by your instructor).
  • Use a plagiarism checker (several are free, like Grammarly). Your instructor may permit you to submit your work through Turn It In or Safe Assign in Bb. However, check with them first as multiple submissions may be saved in the archives and subsequent submissions of a corrected paper can look like self-plagiarism.