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How to Do Research: A Step-By-Step Guide: 5a. Avoid Plagiarism

How to do research

Keys to Avoiding Plagiarism

To Avoid Plagiarism:

  • Understand what plagiarism is.
  • Paraphrase the original text into your own words.
  • Know the difference between quoting directly, paraphrasing, and summarizing.
  • Take clear notes, using quotation marks when copying someone else's words.
  • Know when to quote, e.g.: a direct quotation, a paraphrase of another author's argument, a summary of someone else's argument even if it's in your own words.
  • Use quotation marks around text that has been taken directly from the original source.
  • Note that changing someone else's words around or merely substituting synonyms for their words is still plagiarism.
  • Cite every source of information you use in your paper unless it is common knowledge or the results of your own research.
  • Remember to cite Internet sources, the minutes of meetings, speeches, films, TV shows and ads, and anything else that is someone else's work.
  • Plan ahead! Many people who plagiarize simply ran out of time when they were up against a deadline.

"Avoiding Plagiarism," an interactive tutorial from the Greenwood Skills Center, provides additional information about defining plagiarism, quoting, summarizing, paraphrasing, appropriate citing, and tips to avoiding plagiarism.

Plagiarism Tutorials

Real World Examples

Think plagiarism is just an issue for college students writing research papers? Think again!  Check out these real world examples of celebrities being accused of plagiarizing.

Plagiarism: Don't Do It

Posted with permission from Lehman College. 

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is a serious form of academic dishonesty, defined as "The action or practice of taking someone else's work, idea, etc., and passing it off as one's own; literary theft." (Oxford English DictionaryMost students can give a definition of plagiarism, but some still commit plagiarism unintentionally because they're in a hurry, or they don't really understand what constitutes plagiarism and what doesn't. Unintentional plagiarism, however, is still plagiarism.

Follow this link to learn more about Copyright and Plagiarism.

Plagiarism @ EC

Plagiarism is an example of academic dishonesty. According to the EC Code of Conduct:

Academic dishonesty is a serious violation that is counter to the purposes and aims of Elmira College.

Plagiarism may take many forms:

  • cheating,
  • copying information directly without providing quotation marks,
  • failing to cite sources,
  • citing sources incorrectly
  • using someone else's idea or work as your own without acknowledgement, or
  • submitting the same work for multiple courses.

It does not matter whether you intended to plagiarize or whether the plagiarism occurred unintentionally; it still constitutes academic dishonesty. Ignorance of the rules of correct citation is not an acceptable excuse.

Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty can subject a student to disciplinary action.