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Avoid Plagiarism

Quick Tips: Identifying Plagiarism

Uncredited Use of Exact Words

When most people think of plagiarism, they think of this type: the copying and pasting of exact words from one resource into a paper without proper acknowledgement of the original source. This usually happens when an author uses seven or more consecutive words from the original source without proper attribution.

Uncredited Use of Ideas

Some people do not realize it, but the use of another person’s ideas restated for another academic endeavor without proper acknowledgement of the original source is also plagiarism. This usually happens when an author has summarized or reworded content from another source as evidence in their own work but have neglected to include proper attribution for the paraphrase.

Reusing Your Own Work

Most people take exception to this, but if you reuse previously published or submitted material for a new paper or assignment without either properly citing yourself or without the explicit permission of your instructor this is considered plagiarism. This usually happens when authors forget to consider the ramifications of reusing old material rather than creating new, updated material that contributes meaningfully to the scholarly conversation.

Forgetting to Include a Citation

Though it seems like an honest mistake, intentionally or unintentionally forgetting to include a correctly formatted citation, either in the body of the paper or in the reference list is plagiarism. This usually happens when the information to craft a citation is difficult to track down, or because the research process has been rushed out of necessity.

Crafting a Citation Incorrectly

This can also seem like an honest mistake, but leaving out important information that allows readers to quickly, easily, and accurately identify the resources you used in crafting your paper is another form of plagiarism. It usually occurs when an author relies too heavily on citation software without double-checking the actual citation style requirements.

Quick Tips: Avoiding Plagiarism

Uncredited Use of Exact Words

  • Add quotation marks around the material copied per current citation manual guidelines.
  • If necessary, create a block quotation for material that is comprised of 40 words or more.
  • Insert an in-text citation that includes elements required by your citation style. Examples may include the author name, the year of resource publication, and the page or paragraph number on which the material appears.
  • Include a correctly formatted and complete end reference that includes all pertinent information about the resource as prescribed by citation style guidelines.

Uncredited Use of Ideas

  • Insert an in-text citation that includes adequate information to direct your reader to the resource as listed in your bibliography or works cited page next to the quote or paraphrase of the idea.
  • Include a correctly formatted and complete end reference that includes all pertinent information about the resource as prescribed by current citation guidelines.

Reusing Your Own Work

  • Cite your original work as you would the work of another author you would normally cite.
  • Have a frank discussion with your instructor about his or her policy regarding the use of previously submitted assignments.

Forgetting to Include a Citation

  • Check to see that all information pulled from outside sources are attributed in both the body (if applicable) and the reference pages.

Crafting a Citation Incorrectly

  • Double check that the in-text citation contains all of the information required by the citation style you are using.
  • Double check that the end references include all the pertinent information as prescribed by the citation style you are using.