How to Avoid Plagiarism
Tips taken from the Academic Honesty Guide.
Quote sparingly and precisely
Brief quotations, included within your own clear analyses or interpretations, are far more effective than long, unanalyzed ones.
Place quotation marks around any quotation you use in your text, even those consisting of only a phrase. In the case of long quotations, set them off by indenting. In addition, cite the precise source of the quotation in a footnote, endnote, or in-text citation. You must use quotation marks around the directly-quoted parts and cite the source even if you have rearranged the order of the sentences or have interspersed some of your own words and ideas.
When you paraphrase — that is, when you put what a source says into your own words — you must not merely rearrange a few words from the source, but must recast the passage or sentence completely. In addition, you must specifically cite the source of any material that you have paraphrased or summarized, even when you have substantially reworded or rearranged it. It is not acceptable to explain similarities between your work and that of others by claiming that you read the source or sources long ago and have confused the phrases and ideas of the other author or authors with your own. Rule of thumb: when in doubt, cite.
Cite ideas and data
You are also obliged to acknowledge, whether in an in-text citation or a footnote, any idea you have borrowed from another person or source. Scholars, researchers, and writers often engage in intense discussions with each speaker confirming or modifying some aspect of another’s thought. Given these circumstances, it’s often difficult to credit the source for any given idea. However, such acknowledgment is part of how we honor each other’s words and work. Even though, at times, you may feel as if the distinction between your ideas and the ideas of others is unclear, you must make that distinction as clear as possible. This requirement to acknowledge the ideas of others applies whether the source is a faculty member, another student, a guest lecturer, or an off-campus friend or relative.
List all sources
Include a list of collaborators, people consulted, references, works cited, and/or bibliography at the end of your essay, lab report, research paper, or presentation. That is, in addition to using footnotes or parenthetical references to cite sources and/or collaborators in the body of your essay, you must provide at the end of your project a clearly structured record of all your sources.