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Plagiarism: Research / Note Taking



Choosing the appropriate sources will make writing the paper and avoiding plagiarism easier. While Google is the "go-to" source for most students, the library has databases with subject specific articles at no charge, in addition to books. Check the Research Guides for sources for specific subject areas. Library databases and the library catalog offer sample citations for most sources.

When selecting a source for your paper, evaluate the source for its appropriateness and usefulness by asking:

  • Does the material provide information useful to your paper?
  • Who is the author? Does he provide credentials or a means for contact?
  • Where did the author's information come from? Are there citations (a bibliography or list of sources used)?
  • When was the material written? For books, see the copyright date, for articles, the date of the magazine/journal/newspaper article, and for websites, the copyright date or the last update date.
  • Why was this material produced? To inform? To persuade? Is it biased?

Note Taking

When copying material, whether using copy/paste, making photocopies or handwriting onto notecards, remember to:

  • take notes. Do not just copy/paste into your paper
  • organize your notes/material so you can easily identify what you intend to use and how you intend to use it
  • know the TYPE of source you are using: book; ebook; article from a print magazine/journal/newspaper; article from a magazine/journal/newspaper in a library database; entire website; page/document from a website; article from a journal on a website, etc. If you use the library catalog and databases, you will know what type of source and have a sample citation
  • note the citation information so you can easily cite the source (see the Citing tab)

Citation Examples in Library Catalog & Library Databases

Best viewed in FULL SCREEN MODE.

Paraphrasing: a quick video

Guest lecture on plagiarism, paraphrases, direct quotations and source citations for students at the UMUC (University of Maryland-University College).


Quote from your sources as appropriate, but note the following:

1) Place quotation marks around exact wording you use from a source

2) Always use quotes if the quote best expresses the author's wording

3) Be wary of long quotes. You may need to summarize or paraphrase

4) Quote only what you fully understand


Paraphrasing involves more than changing a word or two from a source. Check out these simple Paraphrasing Tips from the University of Maine Farmington.

The Purdue Online Writing Lab (Purdue OWL) also has information and examples on Paraphrasing.