TOW #5: Plagiarism

Although many people don’t take plagiarism seriously, it is an act of fraud. It involves stealing someone else’s work and lying about it ( Intentional or not, it is a crime that can result in suspension from school or even the expulsion of a student. There are many ways to plagiarise, including:

1) Turning in someone else’s work as your own

2) Copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit

3) Failing to put a quotation in quotation marks

4) Giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation

5) Changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit

6) Copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not (

Most cases of plagiarism can be avoided, however, by citing sources. Simply acknowledging that certain material has been borrowed, and providing your audience with the information necessary to find that source, is usually enough to prevent plagiarism ( Northwestern University offers some tips on its writing website to help writers avoid plagiarism. They include:

1) Cite every piece of information that is not (a) the result of your own research, or (b) common knowledge. This includes opinions, arguments, and speculations as well as facts, details, figures, and statistics.

2) Use quotation marks every time you use the author’s words. (For longer quotes, indenting the whole quotation has the same effect as quotation marks.)

3) At the beginning of the first sentence in which you quote, paraphrase, or summarize, make it clear that what comes next is someone else’s idea:

  • According to Smith…
  • Jones says…
  • In his 1987 study, Robinson proved…

4) At the end of the last sentence containing quoted, paraphrased, or summarized material, insert a parenthetical citation to show where the material came from (Northwestern).



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