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INFOhio Citation Guide: Avoiding Plagiarism

Technology makes it easy to copy and share ideas and information. Learn how to maintain academic integrity while you are doing your research.

What is Plagiarism?

If you don't cite the sources you use, that's considered plagiarism. Whether it's done on purpose or by accident, plagiarism is against the rules. This guide will help you recognize plagiarism, so you can avoid it and its consequences.

What is plagiarism and how to avoid it

Citing Sources: A Quick and Graphic Guide


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Tutorials on Citing and Document Sources

Categories of Plagiarism

Whether it's a paper you got from a friend or one you bought online, submitting someone else's work as your own is plagiarism. This form of plagiarism is noteworthy for the fact it is clearly intentional.

Citing your sources inaccurately or citing sources that don't exist is plagiarism. Inaccurate or false citations may cause your professor to conclude you're attempting to disguise improper use of information from your sources.

An original paper results from your analysis and synthesis of the sources you read. In other words, while it's acceptable to use quotes and paraphrases from the sources you read, they should be used to support your original thesis. If you cobble together an entire paper of quotes and paraphrases from others' work, it fails to demonstrate your understanding of the material. Given the absence of original work from you, a paper of this type is considered plagiarized even if all the sources are properly cited.

When you put ideas you learned from a source into your own words, that's called paraphrasing. In that case, you don't need to use quotation marks, but you still need to cite the source of the ideas.

Be Careful: When paraphrasing, it's easy to use some of the authors original words by accident. Check your work carefully to make sure you're truly paraphrasing rather than quoting.

The webpage linked below offers guidance on paraphrasing.

If you use another person's exact words in your paper, you must enclose them in quotation marks and cite the source of the quote. If you cite the source, but don't put quotation marks around the quoted words, that's still plagiarism. You must do both.

In each class, your teacher expects you to build new knowledge through fresh effort. Recycling your previous work doesn't meet that goal. If you reuse a paper you submitted for another class, that's considered self-plagiarism.

Useful Web Resources on Plagiarism

Am I Plagiarizing?