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Plagiarism is presenting the work or ideas of another in your research without properly acknowledging the source. If you use the work of someone else and either knowingly or inadvertently claim it as your own creation you are committing an act of plagiarism.

An act of plagiarism can take many forms. Here is a list of some examples of plagiarism:

  • Word-for-word copying of another’s work without properly acknowledging the source of the information. If you use the exact words of another you must enclose this in quotation marks;
  • Paraphrasing the work of another without acknowledgment. Paraphrasing is putting another's statements and/or ideas in your own words, but if your sentences use many of the same words and grammatical structure as the original source it could be construed as plagiarism. Be sure to put the text in your own words. Quotation marks are not required here, but you still must cite paraphrased content;
  • Failing to properly cite your source, even if that failure is inadvertent;
  • Attributing information to a source from which it did not come;
  • Submitting material created by another under your name. This includes turning in a paper created by someone else and claiming it as your own work;
  • Submitting material created by yourself and others but claiming the work entirely as your own.

Here are some tips for avoiding plagiarism:

  • Familiarize yourself with the basics of the research writing process, including the citing of sources;
  • Make note of all the sources you consult during the research process;
  • Always enclose direct quotes in quotation marks. Failing to do this is one of the most obvious forms of plagiarism;
  • Remember that paraphrasing the ideas of another still requires proper citation;
  • Give yourself enough time to properly research and write your paper. Waiting until the last minute may tempt you to plagiarize;
  • Proofread the final version of your paper to ensure that all the sources you used are cited correctly;
  • If unsure whether to cite a source or how to cite it properly, ask your instructor or a librarian.


For Students:

CMU’s Policy on Academic Integrity

An Introduction to Plagiarism

Avoiding Plagiarism

Citing Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism


For Faculty:

Anti-Plagiarism Strategies for Research Papers

Dealing with Plagiarism

How to Recognize Plagiarism