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Avoiding Plagiarism

Not sure what constitute plagiarism and how to avoid it? This guide provides tips, examples and exercises.

How to Avoid Plagiarism


By starting your paper early you give yourself sufficient time to run a thorough literature search, which will give you opportunities to explore a wide range of resources.


Be sure to keep good records so you will have a list of the resources you have used.  It is extremely important to keep a record of where the ideas for your topic come from by taking notes, highlighting, keeping original printouts or photocopies.

For example: 

  1.  Record the author’s name, title, and publication information of what you’ve read.
  2. Write down or highlight the URL for information acquired from the web.
  3. Don't discard the information or notes you have collected until the paper has been graded and returned to you.


The only time you don't need to cite a source is when an idea is either common knowledge or of your own creation. You will need to cite a source if the information is coming from a website, a speech, or a scholarly article.  When quoting, paraphrasing ideas or statements that were created or authored by someone other than you, you must cite your source. Make sure that you cite your sources within text of the reports and document them at the end of your paper.  Familiarize with yourself with citation style guidelines, such as APA, MLA, etc. It is important to learn the documentation style used in your subject area. When in doubt, ask your instructor or a librarian for help.