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Avoiding Plagiarism

You might be plagiarizing if you think...

  • The professor will never find out.undefined
  • It’s just one passage - what's the harm?
  • I didn’t know how to cite materials properly, so I should get a pass this time.
  • I moved around the sentences enough in this paragraph so that it sounds different.
  • I'll just reuse the paper I wrote last semester

Plagiarism is not only copying directly the words or phrases of another author. It also includes using another author’s form-- the structure of their sentences, paragraphs, or wording.

Changing keywords, switching sentences around, or changing tenses still constitutes plagiarism if not cited appropriately.

Ask yourself: Do my ideas or writing draw upon the intellectual ideas or writings of another person?

If the answer is "yes" or "partly," then you must acknowledge your use of their ideas by citing or documenting your sources.

Give credit where credit is due!


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Think: Practical Aspects of Plagiarism

Allison Hosier presents some practical aspects to consider in her 2022 book Using Context in Information Literacy Instruction: Beyond Basic Skills (p.117)

  • What if a colleague took credit for a report (you) wrote at work and then that person got a raise or a promotion?
  • What if a vacation picture you posted online was being used as part of an advertising campaign without your permission?
  • What if a story or article you wrote was published on a popular website with someone else's name attached?


Photo by Leeloo Thefirst:

Intentional and Unintentional Plagiarism

Both should be avoided...

Intentional Unintentional
Intentional plagiarism is the theft of someone else’s ideas; it is usually easily identifiable and avoidable. Unintentional plagiarism is harder for students to identify, usually because it is accidental.
Examples: Examples:
     Buying a paper off the internet      Paraphrasing badly by just rearranging words or sentences 
     Copying and pasting articles without quoting and/or citing      Not using quotation marks correctly
     Having someone else write a paper for you      Leaving out information from in-text citations or bibliography

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