Avoiding Plagiarism

Cite:
1. A direct quote from a source
2. An idea taken from a source
3. Paraphrase from a source
4. A summary of information in a source
5. Pictures, charts, and graphics from a source
6. Statistics and data from a source

Don’t Cite:
1. Common knowledge
2. Your own ideas and analysis
3. Your own experience or observation

Do Not:
1. Recycle a paper from a previous class
2. Download a paper from the internet
3. Use a paper from a friend
4. Pay someone to write a paper for you

Plagiarism, based on the Greek word for “kidnapping,” is stealing someone else’s ideas or writing. Someone’s ideas and writing is actually their personal property! You wouldn’t want anyone to steal from you, and you don’t want to get caught stealing someone’s property.

As you progress through school, the consequences for plagiarizing become more severe. In middle school, you may be forced to redo the assignment, given a bad grade, and/or put in in-school detention to redo the work.

In high school, you may be given a bad grade. In college, you could be kicked out. There are several tricks you can use to avoid plagiarizing.

1. Paraphrase the information! Put it into your own words. That doesn’t mean changing one or two words; that means changing almost all of the words AND the sentence structure.

2. Give the author credit. Quote their words directly, using quotation marks, or reword what they said, but ALWAYS give them credit! This is called “citing your source.”

**Wikipedia is NOT a good source of reliable information. Anyone can add information to Wikipedia, and sometimes, the information is wrong! Some of the information on Wikipedia may in fact already be plagiarized from somewhere else! It’s a good place to look for links, but never use it as a source in your own work.