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Plagiarism: Warning Signs & Prevention

This guide provides a comprehensive overview of plagiarism, its consequences, with emphasis on resources for prevention.

Warning Signs & Prevention

Understanding the warning signs can help to prevent plagiarism. The primary reason to cite your sources is to avoid plagiarism and give proper credit to the original author.

Four Reasons to Cite

  1. Enables a reader to locate the sources cited.
  2. Demonstrates the accuracy and reliability of the information.
  3. Shows the amount of research done.
  4. Strengthens work by lending outside support to ideas.

A Checklist: What Constitutes Plagiarism?

Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Copying and pasting text from online media, such as encyclopedias or journal articles without attribution.
  2. Copying and pasting text from any website without attribution
  3. Transcribing text from any printed material, such as books, encyclopedias, newspapers, journal articles, and magazines, without attribution.
  4. Simply modifying text from any of the above sources without proper citations. This includes lifting portions of another source and using them as your own work.
  5. Replacing a few selected words using a thesaurus or just using words from your own head to get synonyms.
  6. Using photographs, videos, or audio without permission or acknowledgement.
  7. Using another student's work and claiming it as your own, even with the other student's permission.  The latter is an act of collusion in which both students are plagiarizing.
  8. Acquiring work from commercial sources, including buying papers off the web or paying someone to do the work.
  9. Translation from one language to another without citations.
  10. Submitting an essay or paper that was written for another class or another purpose without the consent of the current instructor.
  11. Using your previous work in any way as a basis for new assignments without citing the original work in the bibliography.

Important Tips

  1. Use your own ideas. The focus of the paper should be based on your own ideas.
  2. Use the ideas of others sparingly--as support or reinforcement of your own ideas.
  3. When taking notes, cite your sources appropriately by including the complete citation information for each item used.
  4. Use quotation marks when directly stating another person's words.
  5. A good strategy is to take time and write a short draft of your paper without using any notes. This will assist you in focusing on the content of your paper and help prevent your being too dependent upon your sources.

Recommended Sites to Help

Review information at the following sites to assist in your understanding of plagiarism and how to avoid it.