Avoid Plagiarism

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What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is using another person’s ideas or words without acknowledging or citing the source. You must give credit whenever you use:

  • Another person's ideas, opinions or theories, even if you paraphrase a source in your own words.

  • Direct quotes from another person's actual spoken or written words.

  • Any piece of information that is not common knowledge (e.g., fact, figure, statistic, etc.)

  • Multimedia created by another person (e.g., drawing, music, photo, video, etc.)

Why should I cite my sources?

The primary reason to cite your sources is to avoid plagiarism and give proper credit to the original author or creator.  Other reasons for citing your sources are to:

  • Enable your instructor or another reader to locate the sources you cited.

  • Demonstrate the accuracy and reliability of your information.

  • Show the amount of research you’ve done.

  • Strengthen your work by lending outside support to your ideas.

Tips for Avoiding Plagiarism

  • Keep a research journal or log to help organize your information in one place.

  • Whenever possible, save your sources on Google Drive, a USB drive or your email.

  • Use the EasyBib citation generator tool to automatically format your citations in a specific style (e.g., APA, MLA) and export your citations to a References or Works Cited list in MS Word.

  • Whether you use direct quotes or paraphrase, make sure to cite your sources.

  • Do not forget to include in-text (parenthetical) citations in the body of your paper.

  • When using exact quotes from another person, make sure to use quotation marks to enclose quotes.

  • When paraphrasing, make sure to use your OWN words. Changing only a few words or the sentence structure from another person’s ideas, opinions, or theories is NOT paraphrasing.

  • Follow the rules for the citation style specified by your instructor (e.g., APA, MLA, etc.).

  • Make it clear in the body of your paper when using someone else’s idea (e.g., According to Smith . . . )


Still have questions? Ask a librarian! http://library.reynolds.edu

Created by Reynolds Community College Libraries. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Last updated 8/25/2017.

Understanding Plagiarism. Imagine Easy Solutions, Inc., 2015, info.easybib.com/understanding-plagiarism-infographic. Accessed 16 June 2017.

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