After you understand what plagiarism is, as well as how to avoid it, consider using a plagiarism checklist as you draft and edit your work. The following checklist is ideal for use during the drafting and revising stages of the writing process.

Checklist for Avoiding Plagiarism

1. ❟ Apply a note-taking system in your pre-writing process.

  • I have carefully used a note-taking system, such as synthesis notes, while conducting research.
  • I have recorded citation information for each source so that I do not have to locate it later

2. ❟ Verify the accuracy of information about your source during the pre-writing process.

  • I have reviewed all the information about the source—such as its authors, title, container, publisher, and year of publication—to ensure it is accurate.

3. ❟ Outline your first draft, but only include your original ideas.

  • I have created an outline only consisting of my original thesis statement and main ideas to ensure that I have not substituted others’ ideas or words for my own.

4. ❟ Identify ideas and details from your source notes that support or spar with your main ideas.

  • I have purposefully selected details from credible, relevant sources to support my thesis statement and main ideas.

5. ❟ Decide which details to quote or paraphrase.

  • I have chosen to directly quote definitions, passages for analysis, or information that has been uniquely stated. 
  • I have decided to paraphrase information to further explain a topic or maintain the flow of writing. When paraphrasing information, I have used my own words and sentence structures.

6. ❟ Place quotation marks around any short quotes.

  • I have placed quotation marks around content that I have directly quoted, except for long quotes, which formatting guidelines (e.g., MLA, APA, or Chicago Style) require me to place in a free-standing block without quotation marks.

7. ❟ Lead quoted and/or paraphrased content with signal phrases or informative sentences.

  • I have inserted signal phrases or informative sentences prior to any information that I have quoted or paraphrased.

8. ❟ Insert in-text citations after quoted and/or paraphrased information.

  • I have included in-text citations directly after quoted and/or paraphrased information rather than citing my sources at the end of each paragraph.
  • I have followed the correct formatting guidelines (e.g., MLA, APA, or Chicago Style) for all in-text citations.

9. ❟ Include a Works Cited or References Page.

  • I have included a complete list of sources that have been quoted and/or paraphrased in my paper.
  • I have followed the correct formatting guidelines (e.g., MLA, APA, or Chicago Style) for my Works Cited or References Page.

10. ❟ Ask your instructor any questions you have before, not after, you submit your paper.

  • I have sought advice regarding any questions that relate to the content and/or documentation in my paper.
  • I understand that submitting my paper means that I am also stating it consists only of my own work, except in cases for which I have included appropriate documentation. I have not purchased any of the content in my paper.