Skip to Main Content


Tips on Avoiding Plagiarism

  1. Begin your research early and do not procrastinate. When you are in a rush you may fail to include all the information needed to document the source or you may even fail to cite the source.
  2. Keep careful notes. Keep track of all information you need to document your sources. 
  3. You must always document any words or ideas that is not your own. Outside sources include books, web sites, periodicals, databases, radio or television programs, films, plays or other performances, images, songs, interviews, speeches, lectures, letters and correspondence (including e-mail), videos, and government sources. Plagiarism could even occur with a word or phrase.
  4. If you are quoting word for word from someone make sure to enclose the quotation within quotation marks. Do not omit any word(s) when quoting unless you have followed your citation style's specific instructions for doing so.
  5. When you paraphrase or summarize someone else's idea or work, make sure to include a citation to the original source.
  6. Cite every source that you used in your paper in the bibliography/works cited/reference list. Every source that you used in your list should be cited in your paper. If you did not use a source, remove it from the list.
  7. Information that is common knowledge need not be documented. Common knowledge is information that everyone knows such as widely known news events, famous people, geographical facts, familiar history, and cliches or common sayings. (Example: Washington D.C is the capital of the United States). However, if you are not sure whether something is common knowledge or not, it is best to provide documentation.
  8. Get familiar with the citation style that your instructor requires. Click on the Library Citation Style tab in this guide for help with the commonly used citation styles.
  9. When in doubt, check with your instructor. They are the one that has assigned the paper and will know what's expected.

Resources for Avoiding Plagiarism