“How Do I Avoid Plagiarism?”

Written with the permission of D. JOHNS & K. MCGRATH

Whenever you write a paper or give a presentation in which you use words, ideas, opinions or images that are from some other source, and are not your own original creations, you must give credit to the source.


Need to Document
No Need to Document
When you are using or referring to somebody else’s words or ideas from a magazine, book, newspaper, song, TV program, movie, webpage, computer program, letter, advertisement, or any other medium.When you use information gained through interviewing another person.When you copy the exact words or a “unique phrase” from somewhere.When you reprint any diagrams, illustrations, charts, or pictures.When you use ideas others have given you in conversations or e-mail. When you are writing your own experiences, your own observations, your own insights, your own thoughts, your own conclusions about a subject.When you are using “common knowledge” — folklore, common sense observations, shared information within your field of study or cultural group.When you are compiling generally accepted facts.When you are writing up your own experimental results.


Owl Purdue – Avoiding Plagiarism: Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing

SFU Online Plagiarism Tutorial

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Avoiding Plagiarism: University of British Columbia


Plagiarism is a form of cheating. It is wrong because it is:

DISHONEST to get a grade for work that someone else did.

UNFAIR to students who do their own work.

WRONG to take something that belongs to someone else: property, words, or ideas.

CHEATING yourself, since you learn nothing from turning in someone else’s work.

HARMFUL to the excellent reputation of our school, and to the value of your diploma.

DUMB, because it may become part of your school record and prevent you from getting into college or getting a job.


Keep a “working bibliography” as you do your research. Write down all the pertinent information about the sources you use so you will know where evey piece of information came from

Don’t use words from other sources that you don’t fully understand. Be sure you can explain in your own words what any terms in your paper mean.

Keep print copies of any electronic resources that you use.

Try reading your finished paper out loud, to yourself or someone else, to be sure it is in “your voice.”