How to Avoid Plagiarism


Have you ever wondered if you inadvertently plagiarized someone else's work when writing a paper? Plagiarism is essentially taking another person's work or ideas and presenting them as your own (and yes, that is cheating). The following are given as examples of plagiarism at a Student Guide to Avoiding Plagiarism @ (

  • Quoting or paraphrasing material without citing the source of that material. Sources can include Web sites, magazines, newspapers, textbooks, journals, TV and radio programs, movies and videos, photographs and drawings, charts and graphs; any information or ideas that are not your own.
  • Quoting a source without using quotation marks -- even if you do cite it.
  • Buying a paper online or downloading a paper from a free site.
  • Copying or using work done by another student.
  • Citing sources you didn't use.
  • Turning in the same paper for more than one class without the permission of both teachers. 

Now that you've seen examples of plagiarism, the next steps are to learn how to avoid it. First, your teacher is the best source for how he or she wants the paper written. Begin by taking careful notes and summarize what you've read in your own words. Write down the name of each source, where it was found, page numbers, author or editor, and the date material was accessed, if from an online source. When citing sources, be sure to distinguish between material that is a direct quote (with quotation marks) or paraphrased, utilizing parenthetical citations or worked into your sentence structure. All sources must be listed in your bibliography or works cited page, using the approved formatting style. (Most CBHS teachers require MLA). 

Helpful Guides (click on the title of each guide)

  • How to Avoid Plagiarism | Harvard Guide to Using Sources | A Publication of the Harvard College Writing Program 

  • Nine Things You Should Already Know About Plagiarism | An informational tool brought to you by the Office of the Provost, the Office of Academic Integrity Programs, and the Integrity Council, with special thanks to the First-Year Composition Program, Department of English | University of Oklahoma