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How to Avoid Plagiarism

“What is plagiarism?”

According to Purdue OWL, plagiarism is “when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas or other original material without acknowledgement of its source.”

I would like to start by saying that if you think it might not be your idea or your words, cite it. There is never any harm in “over” citing a paper. Better safe than sorry. The amount of disciplinary trouble you can get in at a university level if you are accused of plagiarism is honestly not worth it. So better prepare while in high school or middle school on how to recognize what is plagiarism and how to avoid it.  

How do you avoid it?

According to the Writing Tutorial Service at Indiana University, one needs to cite when

  • You use someone else’s ideas, opinions or theories
  • Any facts, statistics, graphs, pictures, drawing that are not common knowledge
  • It is usually common knowledge if the information can be found in two or more textbooks of that certain subject
  • Like I said if you are unsure better safe than sorry
  • If it the exact words someone wrote or spoke make sure you quote them
  • If you are paraphrasing what someone said you still need to cite it

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