Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Plagiarism: What it is and how to avoid it

Plagiarism is defined as the act of presenting someone else's intellectual work as your own without giving credit to the original author. Plagiarism, whether intentional or not, is viewed as an academic offense and can lead to serious consequences.

Here are some examples of plagiarism:
  • Using a quote from a source without citing the original work.
  • Paraphrasing a passage from a source without citing the original work.
  • Cutting and pasting from an original source directly into your own work without citing.
  • Passing another student's work off as your own.
  • Purchasing papers from an online paper mill.
So, what can you do to avoid plagiarism? Here are some helpful tips:
  • Take notes. List sources, page numbers, and any kind of identifying information.
  • Keep a list of all the sources you cite in the required documentation style.
  • Check to make sure your paraphrases are in your own words.
  • Cite anything that is not original to you.
  • Cite anything that doesn't fall into the realm of "common knowldege." For example, most people know that George Washington was the first President of the United States, so you don't need to cite that fact.
Need more help?
I would recommend checking out the Purdue Online Writing Lab. This resource not only provides information on how to avoid plagiarism, but also how to cite in MLA and APA format as well.
Rutgers and Acadia University provide some helpful tutorials on how to go about avoiding plagiarism.
Remember: The best rule of thumb, when in doubt, cite!
Good luck to you all and enjoy this humorous video on the perils of plagiarism.

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