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Learn tips to identify and avoid plagiarism


Welcome to the research guide on Avoiding Plagiarism!

In this resource, you will find information on:

  • What constitutes plagiarism
  • Tips for avoiding plagiarism: paraphrasing, using quotations
  • How to properly cite your sources
  • How to make sure you comply with copyright and ethical use of resources
  • Using images in your work


What is Plagiarism?


Plagiarism is using someone else's ideas and words without clearly acknowledging the source of that information. Sources of words and ideas come in many forms:

  • spoken words (conversation, interviews, lectures)
  • written words (emails, web pages, blogs, published and print materials, even Facebook messages and tweets)
  • multimedia (movies, music, photographs)
  • other ways to express ideas (drawings, graphs, maps, statistics, etc.)


Types of Plagiarism


A common misperception is that plagiarism means only using someone else's exact words, without giving proper credit. But plagiarism also includes using someone else's ideas, opinions without credit or even mixing multiple sources together or with your own ideas. According to, here are a few more examples of plagiarism:


The Plagiarism Spectrum

Accidental Plagiarism

Plagiarism is often accidental. The line between plagiarism and research can be fuzzy. If there is any doubt about whether or not you are using someone else's ideas, you can avoid any question of plagiarism by always citing your source. 

It does not matter if a failure to give proper credit was accidental or intentional. Any lack of credit, even accidental, is considered plagiarism.


Click on image to expand.  

Examples of Plagiarism


  • Submitting a paper that has been written by another writer.
  • Appropriating the words of another writer as if it were your own, without enclosing the words of others in quotation marks. Whether a phrase, a sentence or two, or a full paragraph, taking the words of another without giving credit is plagiarism.
  • Paraphrasing material without giving the source of information. Any time you do not give another writer credit for her/his ideas, you have plagiarized.
  • “Falsely paraphrasing”: a student only changes some of the words but the language is still too close to the original. See tips below on accurately paraphrasing another’s work/idea, in which case you must still provide parenthetical documentation. 
  • Copying from the Internet, from a web page, or from another person/writer without giving credit. Materials on the internet are not “up for grabs.”
  • Using the ideas of another without using footnotes and other citations to give the original source credit.
  • Collaborating excessively with another person, tutor, student, friend, former teacher…anyone.

from UCLA's website, Preventing Plagiarism (



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