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Resources for Writers: Plagiarism


According to NorQuest College's Code of Student Conduct,

Plagiarism is a form of academic misconduct that occurs when someone presents as their own work that has been created by another. Specific examples include:

1. Presenting in any format the words, ideas, images or data created by or belonging to someone else as if it were one’s own.

2. Manipulating source material in an effort to deceive or mislead.

3. Submitting work that contains misleading references that do not accurately reflect the sources actually used.

Learning to use other people's words and ideas correctly is an important skill for students in every program and career path. It's not just a skill for students, either: it's part of being a professional in many fields of work.

This NorQuest Library page has more information on what plagiarism is, and has a quiz for you to check your knowledge.

Learning to use sources properly can take some practice, but it's well worth your time because plagiarism can have serious consequences. Luckily, there are steps you can take at each stage of the writing process to help you avoid plagiarism:

1. Plan ahead

When you get an assignment, make sure to set aside enough time to do research. You're far more likely to use a source improperly if you are rushing to meet a due date.

2. Be organized

It's easy to forget where you got a piece of information by the time you finish writing, so it's important to keep your sources organized and clearly labelled. People tend to develop a system that works best for them, but here are some tips to consider:

  • keep copies of each source you use - save them all in a folder or USB stick or print them out so that you can access at all times
  • if you write notes based on what you read, use a separate page or document for each source, and keep track of which page of the original source you got each piece of information from
  • make sure you clearly mark in your notes when you have quoted a source directly and when you have summarized or paraphrased

3. Be accurate

Make sure that you quote and paraphrase your sources correctly.

4. Cite from the start

Don't save your citations for later. Use in-text citations for every source you refer to from the very beginning of your writing, and keep track of them when you revise your drafts.

5. Double-check

When you proofread your final draft, make sure that every piece of information you got from another source has an in-text citation (having copies of each of your sources comes in really handy here!) and that each source you refer to is in your References/Works Cited page.

Want more resources?

Try looking through the subject guides on NorQuest Library's website! Find more writing resources and get information specific to your course or program in these collections managed by librarians and tutors.