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Library DIY

I Need Help Avoiding Plagiarism

Plagiarism-What is It?

Plagiarism - When you present someone else's work or ideas as your own. 

Plagiarism can be accidental or intentional and is considered cheating. Plagiarism is taken seriously as a form of academic misconduct and has consequences. Depending on the severity of the plagiarism, students can lose credit for an assignment or an entire course.

Giving credit for information, ideas, and other creations is an essential ethic in academic scholarship. It is important to make sure that you acknowledge when information you are presenting comes from other people or authors. Citations are an essential part of your paper or presentation and are the mechanism for recognizing others' works that you analyze, critique, build upon, etc.

Plagiarism can be:

  • copying someone's words without giving them credit;
  • quoting somebody's words incorrectly or out of context;
  • using or repeating someone's ideas or concepts without giving them credit;
  • misrepresenting someone's ideas or concepts;
  • copying images or music without permission or without proper attribution;
  • citing incorrectly - citing the wrong source or having incomplete or inaccurate citations;
  • intentionally presenting someone else's work as your own;
  • failing to acknowledge the contribution of others in work produced collaboratively.

For More Information

  • Take a look at Quoting and Paraphrasing, and Integrating Sources into My Paper for more guidance on how to effectively give credit to your information sources.
  • Review the When to Cite Chart (adapted from E. Barker & University of Texas, Arlington Libraries and licensed as CC BY-NC 4.0) below to help you decide which types of information require citation. 

When to Cite Chart 

What is it? Do you cite it? Notes

Quotations: A word-for-word copy of the

original material


Use quotation marks around short quotes, indent

long quotes.

Paraphrase: Restating the original material

in your own words


Don't use quotation marks around paraphrasing

unless you are including a distinct word or phrase

from the original.

Graphs, images, or ideas from other



Also acknowledge music, computer code, or research

study methodology created by others.

Common knowledge: Information that can be 

found in multiple sources like general 



If you are not sure if something is common knowledge,

acknowledge the source.

Your own original ideas and work

No (unless you

have already published

the information)

Your interpretation of data, original compositions, or

new hypotheses do not need to be cited; but if you

have previously submitted or published the same or 

similar ideas, cite your previous work.