In this lesson you will learn more about what plagiarism is and why you need to avoid it. You will also learn about the key steps you can take to make sure you do give credit when necessary. You will also consider how you can work productively when it comes to citing your sources and how technology skills can help you make sure your citations are correct. Specifically, this lesson will cover:
- What is Plagiarism?
- Avoiding Plagiarism
1. What is Plagiarism?
Plagiarism is the act of taking someone else’s idea, words, or work and passing them off as one’s own. You may find some amazing resources. An author may say it so well, you don’t want to change a single word. That is great, and there are ways to give someone else credit for their own work. It becomes a problem when you make a decision to use someone else’s exact words without giving them credit. This amounts to stealing and it can cause all kinds of problems for anyone who does it.
While there are some resources you can use as-is without giving credit, such as public domain media, most work pulled from somewhere else requires things like quotation marks and citations. Even if you paraphrase (put it into your own words), you still need to give credit where credit is due.
As you work, taking the time to make a list of your sources with key information needed for citations will make you more productive. When it comes time to create your reference page, you won’t need to go back and spend time searching for that key information. You will have it at your fingertips.
- The act of taking someone else’s idea, words, or work and passing them off as one’s own.
2. Avoiding Plagiarism
Avoiding plagiarism is not hard, but it does take some time to do it right. The steps you need to take to make sure you give the proper credit will depend on the situation. Consider the scenarios below:
- Monique was writing a paper on the Civil War. She found a quote from a Union soldier she wanted to use. She copied the quote and pasted it into her paper. She made sure to place quotations marks around the statement and she added a citation on her reference page for the site where she found it.
- Ben was working on a presentation for work. He found some data he needed. It was in the form of a pie chart. He copied and pasted the pie chart one slide 3. He made sure to add a citation for that site on his reference slide.
- Darryl had to write a paper about healthy eating habits for his nutrition class. He found some great information on why a healthy diet matters but it was written using some complicated and advanced language. He paraphrased the information using terms more appropriate for his audience and he added a citation for that site on his reference page.
is a way of crediting a source that is quoted, paraphrased, or summarized in an essay or other form of writing. You will need to create a citation for any source that you use. This can be an intimidating process at first if you are not used to citing things, but it is an important step.
There are different citation standards. The two most widely used are APA and MLA. Some schools/organizations also have their own versions. It is important to know what is expected and follow that format. You can also find citation builders like
online that can help you save time or assist with resources that don’t always have all the information you need.
Cal decided to head back to school 15 years after he graduated high school. He was nervous about writing his first paper for history class. He had written citations when he was in high school, but that was so long ago. His professor told him about some citation generator sites they could use. Thanks to Cal’s strong technology skills, he was able to locate and utilize one of those cites to create his reference page.
- A way of crediting a source that is quoted, paraphrased, or summarized in an essay or other form of writing.
In this lesson, you learned more about what plagiarism is. You learned what it is, why you want to avoid plagiarism and the steps you need to take to make sure you do just that. You learned you need to use things like quotation marks and citations. You considered actions you can take to be productive as you use your sources and how strong technology skills can help you take advantage of online citation tools.
On to the last lesson!