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Citing Sources: Plagiarism

Defining Plagiarism

To plagiarize:

  1. To steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own : use (another's production) without crediting the source.
  2. To commit literary theft : present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.

(Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plagiarize)

Identifying Plagiarism

The Obvious:

  • Stealing, buying, or using someone else's paper/work.
  • Cutting and pasting portions of someone else's text/work without citing it.
  • Forgetting to cite.
  • Providing incorrect or incomplete citations and forgetting to use quotation marks.

The Not-So-Obvious:

  • Turning in your own paper/work twice.
  • Ghostwriting a paper for someone else.

Avoiding Plagiarism

Here are a few tricks to help you avoid plagiarism:

  • Take notes as you research!  Write down citation information and brief notes on each source you might use in your assignments.
  • Color code your sentences as you write to distinguish what is your idea and what is someone else's idea.  Simply change the colors to black when you are done writing.
  • Proofread your paper to check for any citation mistakes.
  • Keep a source (like a library book) with you until you are absolutely done with your assignment.  Bookmark web content that you might use.
  • Get help with your writing if every sentence in your assignment needs a citation.  You might not be meeting the objectives of the assignment.

The Different Types of Plagiarism

Watch this video to learn about the different types of plagiarism. (Sea Devil TV Productions)

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