Old Dominion University Libraries

STARquest I: Library Services & Resources

10d. How can I avoid plagiarism?

Many of us know the blatant examples of plagiarism, such as duplicating exactly another author's words and labeling them as our own. There are also cases when we may inadvertently plagiarize and not realize that we are doing so. Ignorance will not help if you are accused of plagiarizing. It is your responsibility to know what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.

Here is a checklist on how to avoid plagiarism:

  • Learn how to cite your sources using the appropriate style manual.
  • Keep careful notes and documentation as you do your research.
  • Downloading information from the Internet or any other electronic database product to include in your paper, without citing its source, is considered an act of plagiarism.
  • Learn how to paraphrase wisely using your own words and citing the source appropriately.
  • It is advisable not to overquote in your paper. Remember the paper should be made up of your own ideas and arguments.
  • Always quote the exact words of an author and surround them in quotation marks, citing the source within the body of the text and in the reference list.
  • Changing a few words of another author's work it still considered an act of plagiarism.
  • Using a sequence of sentences or word language of another author's work is considered an act of plagiarism.
  • Cite ideas from other sources when they add weight to your own argument or ideas.
  • If you are not sure whether to cite a source, cite it.
  • Use quotation marks even if a footnote is provided.
  • Paraphrasing does not mean you do not need cite the source.
  • Do not start your paper the night before your paper is due. This may cause you