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What is Plagiarism?

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:

  • Passing off another’s ideas or work as your own
  • Fabricating citations
  • Copying, cutting and pasting without citing the original source
  • Paraphrasing incorrectly
  • Using media files, such as image, audio or video files, without citing them

How will you know if something is common knowledge? Consider:

  1. Can it be found in many different places?
  2. Is it widely known by a lot of different people?

Use your common sense — when in doubt, ask!

For more information about what constitutes plagiarism, please see the Academic Integrity Office.


Tips for Successful Paraphrasing

  1. Start your research early, so you are not under pressure to finish and be more likely to make mistakes when paraphrasing.

  2. Read the entire text, underlining key points and main ideas.

  3. In your own words, write a sentence about the main idea of the text (i.e. summarize). Also, write key points in the text.

  4. Highlight any words, phrases, or key passages that you would want to quote directly.

  5. Combine the above into a new paraphrased paragraph, using your own words.

Citation Management Tools

There are a variety of tools available to help you with citations.  Some will just generate the citations for you in a variety of styles, while others can manage your citations in case you want to use them again.  For more information about software to help you with citations, please see the How to Cite guide.