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Plagiarism: What it is and how to avoid it.

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You Quote it, You Cite it

You Quote It, You Note It! is an interactive tutorial for students to use and is developed by librarians in the Vaughan Memorial Library at Acadia.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is using someone else's words, ideas or theories and claiming them as one's own.

To avoid plagiarism you must always give credit for information you have taken from someone else.

You must give credit whenever you use things like:

  • charts, graphs, drawings, diagrams, music, art
  • words, phrases, quotations
  • ideas, theories, or opinions

Plagiarism also includes:

  • Having a friend write a paper for you or using someone else's as your own.
  • Submitting a paper or assignment for more than one class!
  • Downloading or buying a term paper from the web.

There are many steps and techniques you can follow in order to avoid plagiarism.

Always document your sources

At university you constantly learn about other people's ideas. When you use this information for your assignments, it is important to document your sources, often referred to as citing, and give due credit. Citations are formally written references which indicate where you found the information.

Depending on your program or the course you are taking, you may be required to use specific styles of documentation. Check with your professor or instructor on what style they prefer.

Plagiarism: How to Avoid It!

Watch this short informative video produced by Bainbridge State College 0State College in the University System of Georgia, to learn some basic concepts of plagiarism.

The Basics

 How to give credit?

Cite where you get the information. Let the reader know where you found your information. Simply changing around a few words will not avoid plagiarism. You must make it clear where you found the information unless it is common knowledge. See the library's citation style guides to learn more about creating citations.

 Why is avoiding plagiarism so important?

Avoiding plagiarism is about honesty. Plagiarism, whether it is intentional or accidental, is theft. Plagiarizing harms your reputation as a student, scholar, or professional, jeopardizing any merit your work may have.

 What Is Common Knowledge?

Some pieces of information are considered common knowledge. This type of information can be found in large numbers of sources and is known by many people.

For Example:
World War II began in 1939.

You do not have to cite this information because it is a widely known fact.

What Is A Quotation?

When you take information directly from a work, you must place that information in quotes.

For Example (Using APA Style):

"When Hitler invaded Poland in 1939, Lemkin was in no doubt of the mortal threat to Polish Jews, but he could not convince his family to leave."(Urquhart, 2002)

Urquhart, Brian (2002, April). Shameful Neglect. The New York Review, 49(7), 12.

 What Is Paraphrasing?

It is the process of taking someone else's ideas and words and putting them into your own words. However, you must still give the original creator credit for their ideas. Again, you must cite where the information originates.

It is normal practice for scholars to use the ideas, opinions, and research of others to formulate their own theories. In fact, it is imperative that scholars are clear on where they obtain their information so that others may follow up on their research. Plagiarism inhibits this important process.