Citations & Plagiarism

What is plagiarism?

Basically, plagiarism is when you use someone else's words or ideas and allow someone else to think that you came up with those words or ideas. And it isn't just in writing. You can plagiarize art, thoughts, and more!

Why does it happen?

Two reasons, mainly:

1) people plagiarize because they are too lazy to give proper credit, or 2) people plagiarize because they hope to get credit for the work instead.

How can I avoid plagiarizing?

First of all, do not avoid research. Our ideas grow by learning from what someone else already learned. Our civilization would not be where we are if we did not learn from those in the past. So research is good, and using an expert's ideas is a responsible form of learning. Just give credit. Basically, you are admitting that you did not start your new idea or understanding from scratch; first you learned from others.

To avoid plagiarizing, you need to do a couple things:

1) Cite everything you read on the subject or everything you saw. You can do this using formats below, or online tools. 2) When you are reading to use what you read or looked at, put the original source away and write about what you remember. Do your best, but trust yourself. Taking notes or writing when you are NOT looking at the original helps avoid plagiarism because you are not going to copy their work. This is a great way to paraphrase! 3) Whenever you cannot phrase it better than they did, quote directly. 4) Whether you quote or paraphrase, at the end of EACH sentence, cite the source in-text. 5) At the end of whatever you have create, attach a Works Cited and list every resource you read or looked at on the topic.

How do I set up a Works Cited?

There are many tools now to help. Do not stress; we will take it one step at a time!

Take a look at Owl at Purdue's Writing and Citation help.  Their website is the most referenced and used help for citations and writing!

For help tracking your sources and creating accurate citations, and even formatting your Works Cited page, try This resource is free, has no ads, and allows you to work on multiple projects at once! You can use it without creating an account and it holds information even if you close the tab as long as you are on the same device. MyBib will even give you the in-text citation for each source!

Remember, ask if you have a question or are not sure about something when it comes to plagiarism and citations. Ms. Fair is basically a citation champion--if they had a championship for that kind of thing. She loves when people ask her questions to avoid plagiarism!