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Prevent Plagiarism

What is Plagiarism?

  • There are many different forms of plagiarism and it isn’t always easy to understand.
  • Plagiarism is using the idea or creation of another, and presenting it as your own original work.
  • To avoid plagiarism, you must properly cite.
  • Citing is when you let the reader know where you found the ideas that you present in your essay or paper.
  • There are basically two types of citations in a paper; within the text or body of your essay next to the idea you are citing, then at the end of your paper with a complete list of all the sources of information you used in your paper. If you don’t properly cite in both places, you are plagiarizing.
  • Citing includes information such as the author, date, title, page numbers, etc. The order in which these elements occur in your citation is called style. Your instructor will tell you whether to use APA or MLA Style.
  • Below are some examples of common types of plagiarism, but this isn't a complete list. If you have questions about whether something might be plagiarism, ask your instructor!

Common examples of plagiarism:

word for word - no quotation marks: Using a part of another's work word for word, without using quotation marks to show that it is someone else's work. This is plagiarism even if there is a citation. While the source is cited it is not clear that the sentence is not your own words.  Paraphrasing or using quotation marks avoids plagiarism in this case.

word for word - no citation: Copying another's work exactly without citing the source, even if it is in quotation marks. For example, including a quote from a source in quotation marks tells the reader it may not be your original work, but a citation needs to be included to tell people whose work it is.

paraphrasing  - no citation:  When you paraphrase a source (restate someone else's ideas in your own words), it must be properly cited to avoid plagiarism. Refer to the style guide requested by your instructor (usually APA or MLA) for how to cite correctly.

paraphrasing - find and replace: Changing one or two words from the original source, or using a thesaurus to substitute some of the words without significantly changing the writing style, even if the source is cited. Paraphrasing should keep the major ideas of the source, but said in your own words, and must include a citation.

self-plagiarism: Using your own previous work, and presenting it as new work.  This may include submitting a paper used for one class, in a different class without major changes or indicating its origin.

group (collusion): Copying another person’s work or having another person do the work for you, then presenting it as your own. Or allowing another to copy your work, then having that person present the work as their own. Or where two or more persons collaborate on a project together without official approval and each submit all or part of the work as their own individual original work. Be careful you don’t get too much ‘help’ from others. 

patch working:  Writing consisting mostly of others’ ideas, with few original thoughts or ideas.  Even if those ideas are properly cited it can be plagiarism if you don't include your own thoughts or ideas. 


*NEW!* What is Plagiarism? (Translated in Punjabi)

Translated by Satinderpal Kahlon and validated by Harsimrat Kaur.

Is it Plagiarism? Quiz Yourself

Read the question and click the word 'select' beside the answer you think is correct.  A response will drop down telling you if you're right or wrong, and explaining why. 

This quiz is based on the University of Guelph's academic integrity quiz.

  1. When you use the exact words from a source, like a quotation,  you need to...:
    1. Only put it in quotation marks. [select]
    2. Nothing; It's fine as it is. [select]
    3. Put it in quotations and briefly mention the source. [select]
    4. Put the quote in quotations, and use proper citations. [select]
  2. Even when using your own words and thoughts plagiarism is still possible as 'Self Plagiarism'.  Please select the example that is NOT plagiarism from below:
    1. Taking a paper that you wrote in a previous course and presenting it unchanged as a new work in a different course. [select]
    2. Use portions of your own previous work in a new paper, without acknowledging it as your own earlier work. [select]
    3. Using small parts of your own earlier work, along with new ideas and resources. Citations are used to acknolwedge both your own and other people's ideas. [select]
    4. Taking your own older work to use in another course, changing some parts of it but leaving the general tone and message of the paper unchanged. [select]
  3. What needs to be done to avoid plagiarism when a source is paraphrased ?
    1. Mention the original source and leave the words largely unchanged. [select]
    2. Change a few key words from the original source, keeping the overall tone and intent the same. [select]
    3. Change the words and style of the original source, while still conveying the overall meaning. Include a proper citation to the original source. [select]
    4. Use the exact words in the original source and include a proper citation. [select]
  4. A student writes a paper with proper citations, but a majority of the paper is based on one source.  Why could this be considered plagiarism?
    1. Because a paper should include original thought and new ideas about a topic. [select]
    2. Because using only one source for the main parts of a paper is essentially copying the work of another person. [select]
    3. Because it could rely too closely on the original work's wording and structure. [select]
    4. All of the above. [select]
  5. Which of the following examples is NOT considered Common Knowledge ?
      1. The capital city of Canada is Ottawa. [select]
      2. World War One ended in 1918. [select]
      3. A penny saved is a penny earned. [select]
      4. Moose were successfully introduced on Newfoundland in 1878 and 1904. [select]
  6. What is the correct way to Paraphrase from a source?
    1. Use some of the original authors phrases exactly, mixed with your own.  [select]
    2. Use a thesaurus to change several of the words while keeping the structure and tone the same. [select]
    3. Use your own words to communicate the ideas of the original author, and cite the source. [select]
  7. You finish writing a paper and give it to a friend to look over and discuss.  Is this plagiarism?
    1. Yes, if anyone gives you advice it can be plagiarism. [select]
    2. It is fine to get a second opinion as long as the discussion is general, and any changes are made by you. [select]
  8. What are steps you can take to avoid plagiarism?
    1. Use a standardized citation format like MLA or APA. [select]
    2. Keep careful notes when researching on what sources information came from. [select]
    3. Take the time to synthesize the information from your sources, including your own voice and ideas, to create a new and unique work. [select]
    4. All of the above. [select]


Congratulations! You have finished the quiz.  If you have more questions about plagiarism look at the additional resources provided in this page.  For any specific questions you can always go to your instructor or a librarian for clarification.