Plagiarism: Quick Tutorial

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is taking the work of another person and passing it as your own. This means copying from print or electronic sources. Plagiarized papers are typically…

  • Downloaded/purchased from an Internet site
  • Copy & pasted from an online database
  • Copied verbatim from a book or article
  • Not cited accurately

Avoiding Plagiarism

Legitimate research and writing involves a fine balance between what you say and what others have said. Once you have found the sources that you intend to use, you then need to interpret, paraphrase/quote, and identify them for your reader. Technques for avoiding plagiarism include:

  • Cite the  reference as soon as you  paraphrase or quote it
  • Giving credit where credit is due also applies to  data, charts, and  images
  • Don’t quote excessively, to the point that you are blocking out your own voice
  • When downloading information, document the date of access since the site may not be there permanently
  • Paraphrasing is a difficult task to master, rearranging sentences and using synonyms is often interpreted as plagiarism
  • Recycling your own paper to be used in more than one class is  considered a form of plagiarism. Additional information is available in Academic Misconduct,  Part VI: Academic Integrity in Undergraduate Education and Research of the University’s Student Code
  • Keep track of citations with RefWorks, an online tool to help you organize and to instantly generate bibliographies

 Citation Styles

Basic Components of a Citation….

Books: title, author(s),
edition, place and date of the book’s publication; and publisher

Articles: magazine/journal and article titles; author(s);
issue; and pages

Online Sources: URL, institution or organization associated
with the Web site, date you accessed the source

You may be asked to use different styles for documenting ideas or facts —
the primary sources are:

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
Used for English, although it may be required in some classes in the humanities

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association(APA)
Used for psychology and other subjects in the social sciences

A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (Turabian)
Used primarily for history

What don’t I have to cite?

“Common Knowledge” does not need to be cited if it known by most general readers.  When you begin your studies, it may be difficult to determine what qualifies as “common knowledge,” so it is best to check a few reference sources to confirm if the information needs to be cited. An example of common knowledge would be that  ‘Huckleberry Finn’ is an American classic.



Which of these is NOT an example of plagiarism?

  1. Cutting and pasting several paragraphs from different articles
  2. Copying materials verbatim from a text
  3. Handing in your sister’s old paper on Ethics
  4. None of the above

(None of the above.)

You don’t need to cite the source if…

  1. you’re quoting statistics
  2. the author is dead
  3. the information is “common knowledge”
  4. there is no author noted online

(Common knowledge doesn’t need to be cited)

Web citations need to include …

  1. title
  2. publication date
  3. URL (we address)
  4. all of the above

(all of the above)

To avoid plagiarism…

  1. give credit where credit is due
  2. move some of the words/sentences around
  3. don’t use quotations
  4. cut and past from a variety of sources

(give credit where credit is due)

Tutorial created by Shelley Goldstein.
Permission is granted for unlimited non-commercial use of this exercise.