Skip to Main Content

Avoiding Plagiarism: How to Avoid Plagiarism

How to Identify & Avoid Plagiarism

Avoiding Plagiarism

How Do I Avoid Plagiarism?

It's easy to avoid plagiarism as long as you properly use and cite your information.

Using Your Sources

Always be sure to correctly use your sources in your writing.  To avoid plagiarism, you should do the following:

  • Take Notes: Be sure to take notes on every source as you're doing your research.
  • Paraphrase In Your Own Words: When writing, paraphrase the author while still giving credit.  Don't just replace a few words!  Set the original source aside and try to restate what the author is stating.  However, you still need to cite the source and give credit to the author.
  • Use Quotes When Directly Quoting: If you do need to directly quote a source without rewording it, put the original wording in quotation marks and cite it correctly.
  • Citing Your Information: You always need to cite your sources when appropriate.  See the section below to learn what needs to be cited.

A very common question is "What needs to be cited when I'm doing research?"  Be sure to cite the following:

  • Direct quotations: If you are directly quoting a source, put it in quotation marks and add an internal citation.
  • Paraphrases: Even if you put an author's ideas in your own words, you need to add an internal citation to credit the author's ideas.
  • Summaries: If you are summarizing an author's ideas or a section of text, you need to add an internal citation to give credit.
  • Facts and Ideas: These also need to be credited to the author and/or source with a citation.

But you DON'T need to cite COMMON KNOWLEDGE or WELL-KNOWN FACTS.  We all know that the moon is Earth's only satellite.  But we may not know other things about the moon - its mass or age, for instance.  Unless the fact seems well-known, cite it!