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PCA Academic Writing

Understanding Plagiarism

What is Plagiarism?

“Plagiarism is the act of using another person’s words or ideas without giving credit to that person.” (Merriam-Webster dictionary) You might be plagiarizing if you copy, paraphrase, summarize, translate from someone else's work, without citing the source. Someone's work includes:

  • sentences, phrases, paraphrases, articles, books,
  • ideas from the work,
  • artwork,
  • any type of multimedia (graphics, audio, video, Internet streams),
  • computer programs
  • statistical data

 How to Avoid Plagiarism?

Quote and cite phrases, sentences, and paragraphs taken directly from the original source. 
Quote and cite statistics, charts, graphs, and drawings taken directly from the original source. 
When you paraphrase, summarize or state an idea from someone's work, give credit to the original author. 
Cite your sources using short in-text citations (or footnotes) in your paper. Add the full citation to your "References" or "Works Cited" list at the end of your paper. Citation contents includes, at least, the author, title, and source information (book, journal or website, etc).


Know Your Citation Style Guide

Different disciplines use different citation styles. Here are the 5 most commonly used styles: MLA, APA, Chicago, Turabian, AMA. Always use the citation style recommended by your professor. 

If you have any questions about plagiarism or citing your work, ask your professor or a librarian
This video has some tips on how to avoid accidental plagiarism. (video credit: Editage Insights)

IIT Resources