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College Writing Guide: Understanding Plagiarism

What is Plagiarism?

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Copying someone else's work or using someone else's thoughts without giving that person credit. To avoid plagiarism, simply cite the person's work that you are quoting, paraphrasing, or basing your thoughts upon.”  -from writingcommons.org

BOTTOM LINE: If they're not your WORDS or IDEAS, you have to state whose they are by citing your sources.

 

What are the Different Ways to Plagiarize?

Watch this for a good overview of the different types of plagiarism.

Created by Cape Cod Community College

When am I Plagiarizing?

If your paper has. . .  Then it's . . .
  • quotes, but you didn’t identify or cite the source
      PLAGIARIZED!
  • quotes but you changed some of the words inside the quotes
      PLAGIARIZED!
  • the author’s exact words but without quotation marks
      PLAGIARIZED!
  • ideas that aren’t yours but you rearranged the words and didn’t give credit
      PLAGIARIZED!
  • places where it’s not clear what’s your work and what’s the work of others
      PLAGIARIZED!

How Do I Avoid Plagiarizing?

Learn how to correctly integrate sources into you paper with these three techniques:

  • Quoting: an exact excerpt credited to the author set off with quotation marks. Must include a source citation.

  • Summarizing: putting the main idea of the information into your own words, citing the original source. A summary is shorter than the original, but usually gives a bigger view of the whole idea.

  • Paraphrasing: reading the piece, putting it away and writing a version in your own words. It is not as short as a summary, which may include words or phrases from the original set off in quotes. It is still cited.

Check out Citing Sources to find more information on how to correctly cite sources for MLA, APA, and Chicago styles.

Need More Plagiarism Help?

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