Plagiarism and Proper Citations

Plagiarism occurs when a writer uses the thoughts, ideas, information, direct quotations, or exact wording of another author without properly crediting the source.  In the world of academics, plagiarism is considered academic dishonesty and can result in a failing grade or even expulsion.  With the advancement of technology and Internet use for research, plagiarism is becoming easier to commit, as well as to identify using  plagiarism scanning software such as Turnitin.

Plagiarism and improper citations may be intentional cheating, or they may result from an unintentional oversight, but the consequences are the same.

How can you avoid committing plagiarism in your academic writing?

  • Be sure to always give credit to every source through consistently and properly using parenthetical citations, end notes, or footnotes throughout your paper; books such as the MLA and APA will provide you with proper academic citation guidelines.
  • Include a bibliography, references, or works cited page at the end of your paper to list, in detail, where you found every piece of information.
  • Conduct your own research and do your own writing rather than buying papers online or having someone else do your work for you; this is cheating!
  • If in doubt, be sure to cite your source; some students think they only have to credit a source from which they use a direct quote or exact wording, but ideas, thoughts, and summaries of other writers’ work must also be credited.
  • As you conduct your research, keep index cards or a list to jot down the details of every source you use; this way, you won’t forget where you found a piece of information should you decide to use it in your paper.
  • Never make up a source!
  • Treat information found online the same way you treat information taken from a printed source such as a journal, newspaper, article, book, or academic work.

Remember, with All About Writing, writing help is just a call or click away! We are always here to assist with the editing and proofreading of academic projects. A second set of eyes is always beneficial to catch mistakes with writing as well as proper citation. We also offer assistance with the research and writing process to help you get started.

Spending time to make sure your citations and references are properly done saves time and prevents upset down the road, should someone question your sources of information. Give credit where its due to maintain your academic integrity.

by Christa Riddle

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