How Can I Avoid Plagiarizing?
When you incorporate another person’s ideas and/or words into your work, you must note when and how you use them. That is, you must cite the source. The practice of identifying when and how you use another person’s ideas and/or words in your work is called citing. A citation consists of the information necessary to locate a source. When you quote directly from, or base your work on another person’s ideas, you must cite the source. To avoid plagiarism, cite all sources that have informed your work, without exception.
When and How Should I Cite Sources?
Create a Works Cited (MLA) or Reference List (APA) that contains complete information for each source that informed your paper. Use parenthetical citations that contain the author and page number (MLA), or the author and date of publication (APA), to cite sources within the text of your paper. Quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing are the three major ways to incorporate the ideas and words of another into your work.
What is a Quotation?
Quotations are the exact words of another, directly copied word for word from the source. Attribute all quotations to the original author, and use quotes.
What is a Paraphrase?
A paraphrase is the restatement of a sentence or passage from a source using different words and phrasing.
What is a Summary?
Summarizing is identifying the main ideas of a source, and conveying those ideas in your own words. Summaries are typically much shorter than the original passage. Attribute all summarized ideas to the original source.
Click here to access MLA, APA, and Chicago Citation Style Guides.
Avoiding Plagiarism: Citation Tips
Below are some useful tips for properly citing sources, and in turn, avoiding plagiarism:
- Create and maintain a list of complete citation information for all sources that you consult during your research.
- Note exactly where you use sources within the body of your paper.
- Use quotation marks when repeating another person’s words verbatim.
- Credit original authors for their information and ideas.
- Cite at least once per paragraph, and at the end of each paragraph. However, if you use two different sources to inform one paragraph, you must include two separate citations in that paragraph. If you use three different sources to inform one paragraph, you must include three separate citations in that paragraph, and so on.
- Do not cite common knowledge, i.e., universal facts. For example, you do not need to cite that Ronald Reagan was the fortieth President of the United States. This is common knowledge.
- WHEN IN DOUBT, CITE THE SOURCE!