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Avoiding Plagiarism

Avoid plagiarism and academic dishonesty by understanding when you need to provide citations in your research.

While you may be an unusually bright, innovative thinker, your instructors still expect your research reports to link your insights with those of other scholars. Research involves "listening in" on a scholarly discussion in professional periodicals, books, and reference volumes, and then synthesizing, extending, and connecting what you discover through others' publications with your own insights.

When incorporating outside sources, it’s important to be conscious of what constitutes plagiarism and to avoid plagiarizing material. Plagiarism occurs when an author uses someone else’s ideas, words, or style in his or her own writing without properly attributing the information to that source. While many people think that plagiarism only occurs when a writer directly copies someone else's words, there are many other types of plagiarism: using the ideas of someone else without referencing that source; failing to capture a source's point in your own words when paraphrasing; mimicking an author's style; and neglecting to include an in-text citation for a quote, paraphrase, or summary.

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.