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How to Avoid Plagiarism


Checkpoint 1

Name [optional]:  

Plagiarism is:

using ideas and words without checking ownership
not putting information about the source in the correct format
using ideas and words without crediting the original source

What source of information do you not have to acknowledge?

words from a Web page
facts most people know
ideas from an email message
words from a book

A good paraphrase:

changes some of the author's words
allows you to summarize the author's words without acknowledgement
is a substantial re-expression of the author's ideas as your own

Which of the following are in danger of exact copy plagiarism (check all that apply)?

Cutting and pasting information from an online source
Submitting a paper written by someone else
Repeating a conversation verbatim in your paper
Copying text from a printed source with acknowledgement

Which of the following could be considered common knowledge (check all that apply)?

California transportation uses more than 14 billion gallons of fuel a year
Tornados occur mostly in tornado alley
California speed limit is 70 m.p.h.
A May 3, 1999 Oklahoma tornado had the highest winds ever recorded

Questions for your professor:
What is considered plagiarism is not always black and white. The professor ultimately decides what is considered plagiarism in his or her class. Some questions to consider are:

  • Is it OK to use a paper used previously in another course?
  • What is considered common knowledge for this class?

What questions do you still have about what is plagiarism that you would like your professor to clarify?

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Last updated 11/03/2004 by Sue Thompson
Cal State San Marcos Library