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What Is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is not giving proper credit for:

  • Another person's idea, opinion, or theory;
  • Any facts, statistics, graphs, drawings - any pieces of information - that are not common knowledge;
  • Quotations of another person's actual spoken or written words; or
  • Paraphrase of another person's spoken or written words.

What Makes a Passage Plagiarized?

Passages are considered plagiarism if they contain the following:

  • The writer has only changed around a few words or phrases, or changed the order of the original's sentences, or
  • The writer has failed to cite a source for any of the ideas or facts.

What Makes a Passage Acceptable?

Acceptable paraphrasing:

  • Accurately relays the information in the original but uses your own words;
  • Lets reader know the source of the information;
  • Records the information in the original passage accurately; and
  • Gives credit for the ideas in the passage.

How Can I Avoid Plagiarism?

  • Put in quotations everything that comes directly from the text, especially when taking notes.
  • Paraphrase, but be sure you are not just rearranging or replacing a few words. Instead, read over what you want to paraphrase carefully, cover up the text with your hand, or close the text so you can't see any of it (and so aren't tempted to use the text as a "guide"). Write out the idea in your own words without peeking.
  • Check your paraphrase against the original text to be sure you have not accidentally used the same phrases or words, and that the information is accurate.