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Plagiarism: Understanding and avoiding


Keep track of your sources

Most of the library databases will provide a citation for you. You can either email the information to yourself or grab it as you're doing your research. However you save them, these citations need to be double checked by you to ensure they are following the correct citation guidelines.

If you use the folder option make sure you get the information before you leave the library database - the folders are temporary.

Take good notes
  • Create a detailed list of all of the sources you plan to use in your paper
  • Save all of the citation details is essential for finding the resource again
  • Remember to keep track of page numbers where you've taken content
  • Highlighting and underlining are good ways of identifying your direct quotes and paraphrases
Ask for help!

Make an appointment with a Librarian or a Writing Tutor.

Be kind to yourself - do not procrastinate

student with open laptop

Researching, writing and citing take time so creating a timeline can be helpful to stay on track. If you allow yourself enough time, you will be less likely to unintentionally plagiarize. And remember, it's still plagiarism even when unintentional.

When in doubt, cite your source!


Image of student by Jan Vasek on Pixabay CC0

How to avoid plagiarism

When writing an academic paper, you must acknowledge all the resources (oral, print or web) that you used in your research. Not only does this allow your instructor to locate the sources you mention, it prevents you from being accused of plagiarism. In most instances, plagiarism is unintentional; it can be confusing to know what to cite. In general, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Questions to ask yourself: