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Plagiarism is using others’ ideas and words without clearly acknowledging the source of that information.
How Can We Avoid Plagiarism?
To avoid plagiarism, you must give credit whenever you use:
• 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.
– Strategies for Avoiding Plagiarism
1. Put in quotations everything that comes directly from the text especially when taking notes.
Note that if the writer had used these phrases or sentences in her own paper without putting quotation marks around them, she would be PLAGIARIZING. Using another person’s phrases or sentences without putting quotation marks around them is considered plagiarism EVEN IF THE WRITER CITES IN HER OWN TEXT THE SOURCE OF THE PHRASES OR SENTENCES SHE HAS QUOTED.
2. Paraphrase, but be sure you are not just rearranging or replacing a few words. Write out the idea in your own words without peeking.
3. 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.
Terms You Need to Know:
– Common Knowledge:
Facts that can be found in numerous places and are likely to be known by a lot of people.
Using someone’s words. When you quote, place the passage you are using in quotation marks, and document the source according to a standard documentation style.
Using someone’s ideas, but putting them in your own words. This is probably the skill you will use most when incorporating sources into your writing. Although you use your own words to paraphrase, you must still acknowledge the source of the information.
Produced by Writing Tutorial Services, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
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