Plagiarism can be unintentional or intentional when ideas, text, and creative work are used but not cited in academic, professional, and personal work. Common forms of plagiarism can include:
How will you know if something is common knowledge? Consider:
Use your common sense — when in doubt, ask!
Consider using tools to help organize your research and keep your information in one place. Try keeping track of what you're quoting or paraphrasing in a “research journal.” Some great suggestions for free, online options at:
If you just want to track your citations (without notes), use online tools like EndNote Web (http://www.myendnoteweb.com/EndNoteWeb.html).
If you still have questions about when to cite, check with your instructor.
Read the entire text, underlining key points and main ideas.
In your own words, write a sentence about the main idea of the text (i.e. summarize). Also, write key points in the text.
Highlight any words, phrases, or key passages that you would want to quote directly.
Combine the above into a new paraphrased paragraph, using your own words.
Image credit: Harris, Robert A. The Plagiarism Handbook: Strategies for Preventing, Detecting, and Dealing with Plagiarism. Los Angeles: Pyrczak Publishing, 2001.