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Anti-Plagiarism Guide for Faculty, Staff and Students: How to Avoid Plagiarism

Providing anti-plagiarism sources for students, staff and faculty

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Using Direct Quotations

Plagiarism can be avoided by citing sources. That means that if you use the exact words found in a book or article or a media source, it belongs in quotation marks. It is important to give credit to the author of the words you are using.

Here is an example of the correct way to cite a source and give credit to the author if you are using an exact quotation.

John is writing a paper about social networks. He is using an article that he found on Google Scholar in his paper and when writing his paper he uses a direct quote from the paper:

"...investigators typically proceed by expanding ego-neworks of several main suspects, the key actors may be omitted due to ignored or unknown interaction con-texts. Actors with false or multiple identities also introduce errors into the structural presentation of the criminal group" (Kossinets, 2008, p.9).

Please note when using APA if your quotation is more than 40 words, you have to create a Block Quote.



The website defines Paraphrasing as including "the ideas or information from an original source in your paper by rephrasing those ideas or information in your own words. The key to successful paraphrasing is to use as few words as possible from the original text--be mindful not to change the meaning that you are trying to convey as you rephrase--and to cite your paraphrase. Without proper citation, your paraphrase could be construed as plagiarism" (Para. 4 & 5).

Six steps to effectively paraphrasing along with a few examples can be found on the Purdue Online Writing Lab website

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The "Reading Rockets" website created by WETA (2017) states that summarization "teaches students how to discern the most important ideas in a text, how to ignore irrelevant information, and how to integrate the central ideas in a meaningful way. Teaching students to summarize improves their memory for what is read. Summarization strategies can be used in almost every content area" (Para. 1)  and further provides directions about how students can summarize what they have read.

How to use summarizing

  1. Begin by reading OR have students listen to the text selection.

  2. Ask students the following framework questions:

    1. What are the main ideas?

    2. What are the crucial details necessary for supporting the ideas?

    3. What information is irrelevant or unnecessary?

  3. Have them use key words or phrases to identify the main points from the text.

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Summarization & Paraphrasing and avoiding plagiarism

If you are reading a book, and writing a summary of what you have read, you are still summarizing the words of someone else. The words you are summarizing are not your own. That means that the author's ideas you are summarizing must be cited, or rather, be given credit for their ideas in your work.

John is reading Kossinets article and summarizing it. To avoid plagiarism he needs to cite the author by saying the following in his paper, providing the ideas that Kossinets has provided and he has summarized:

Kossinets (2008) states...     or he could also say     According to Kossinets (2008)....

What is Common Knowledge?

The Academic Integrity at MIT (2017) website defines and discusses Common Knowledge as it pertains to avoiding plagiarism. See this link for more information about Common Knowledge, how to determine whether the information you are using in your paper is Common Knowledge and citing common knowledge in your paper.

References & Works Cited

Creating a list of References (APA) or Works Cited (MLA) means that you are creating a list of the books, articles and websites you have used to write your paper. Scholarly papers must include a References or Works Cited, following the writing style that you have chosen for writing your paper.

If you cite a source in a paper, by paraphrasing, summarizing or using direct quotes from works, articles, websites or media, then those works must be listed on your list of Reference or Works Cited. If you use dictionaries to look up words and define them in your paper, the dictionaries should also be cited.

Common mistakes that can lead to plagiarism are:

1. Not including a list of References or Works Cited at the end of your paper

2. Not listing a work on a list of References or Works Cited when it is cited in a paper and

3. Over listing works that are not cited, summarized, paraphrased or quoted in the paper.

Incorrectly using a writing style to list a work does not mean that you have plagiarized. But you do need to learn the complexities of the writing style you are using so that you can correctly cite a source on your list of References or Works Cited.

Importan Considerations when writing your paper

The best way to avoid unintentional plagiarism is to make sure that when you write your papers you follow the rules for:

1. Direct Quotations

2. Summarization

3. Paraphrasing         and when providing information you consider to be facts that are

4. Common Knowledge.