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Plagiarism: Accidental Plagiarism

WHAT IT IS & HOW TO AVOID IT

Copy / Paste Plagiarism

Using the computer to copy and paste is probably the most common way students inadvertently plagiarize.

Here's how to avoid plagiarism when you copy/paste text FROM ANY SOURCE:

  • Always cite the source, even if you change the wording slightly, paraphrase or summarize
  • If you quote directly and do not change the wording, place quotes around the material copied (or use a block quote) AND cite
  • Web sources (text, video, audio, graphics, pictures) must be cited and/or you must obtain permission to use

Your instructor will let you know which style (APA, MLA, or Turabian) to use for your paper.  

In addition to in-text citations, you need a bibliography (References / Works Cited) that lists each source cited in-text. 

Misunderstandings about Plagiarism

Using Another Paper

Plagiarism includes:

  • Using a paper written by someone else
  • Using your own paper, written for another class, without the instructor's knowledge

An Interview

If you interview someone without identifying your source, even if it is a casual conversation from which you get ideas and/or quotes, it is plagiarism. You must cite your source.

How to Avoid Plagiarism