Plagiarism and How to Avoid It

What Is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is using other people's ideas without giving them proper credit for it. When you do this, you're implying that the ideas are your own. Doing this violates ethical standards. It can also endanger your grade. Below you will find several resources to help you avoid plagiarism. When in doubt, ask your professor or a librarian for help.

3 Quick Tips for Avoiding Plagiarism

  • If you cut and paste from an article or website, put it in quotes and cite it.
  • If you want to paraphrase, put it in your own words. If you don't understand something, look it up. is good for words. Britannica Online or Wikipedia might also be good places to check. You still need to cite things that you paraphrase.
  • Your paper should essentially be your own ideas. Use other people's ideas only to support or develop your own.

More Resources for Students

Plagiarism - explains what plagiarism is and how to avoid plagiarizing.
University of North Carolina

SOU Policies that Address Plagiarism:
Academic Standards

Plagiarism: What It Is and How to Recognize and Avoid It
From Indiana University, Bloomington

Documentation Guidelines for Citing Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism
From Duke University

How to Avoid Plagiarism

From Purdue University Online Writing Lab

Lists several websites with information on plagiarism

From Wikipedia

Citing Print & Electronic Resources
List of several good websites on citing using MLA, APA, Chicago, Turabian, ASA, etc.

Writing History: PBS NewsHour Discussion about Plagiarism -Debate about best-selling historian and charges of plagiarism and improper citations.

Resources for Faculty:

The Citation Project
Preventing Plagiarism, Teaching Writing

Making Plagiarism-Proof Assignments
Colorado State University

Plagiarism Detection
Coates Library, Trinity University
A subscription-based service that will identify papers that contain plagiarism.

Center for Academic Integrity
Rutland Institute for Ethics
Clemson University