Avoiding Plagiarism

Definition of plagiarism

Plagiarism is presenting the words or thoughts of another writer as if they were your own. When you write a paper, you often learn information from other sources, such as books and articles either online or in print. You must always tell your reader where you learned the information. If you don't, you have plagiarized.

How to avoid plagiarizing

Whether you are quoting directly or putting the ideas of an author into your own words (paraphrasing), you must formally acknowledge the source of your material. Furthermore, when you give credit to your sources, your writing becomes credible to your reader. Every quote or paraphrase you use in your paper must be cited even though you may have used your own words to explain the idea.

How to give credit

In order to acknowledge your source and avoid plagiarizing it, you must always cite your source by giving your reader information that will correspond to a bibliography page of your paper. Depending on the style you are using, at the very least you will need to note the author and a page number. You also must include a bibliography (sometimes called a works cited page or a references page) corresponding to all the sources you have used in your paper. Four documentation styles commonly used at MacEwan University are APA, ASA, MLA and Chicago.

Consequences of Plagiarism

Even though most plagiarism is unintentional, there can be serious consequences for plagiarizing in writing assignments. For more information about some of these consequences, visit the Academic Integrity web segment.

Academic Integrity