How to Avoid Plagiarism
In order to avoid plagiarism, you must give credit when
- You use another person's ideas, opinions, or theories.
- You use facts, statistics, graphics, drawings, music, etc., or any other type of information that does not comprise common knowledge.
- You use quotations from another person's spoken or written word.
- You paraphrase another person's spoken or written word.
- Begin the writing process by stating your ideas; then go back to the author's original work.
- Use quotation marks and credit the source (author) when you copy exact wording.
- Use your own words (paraphrase) instead of copying directly when possible.
- Even when you paraphrase another author's writings, you must give credit to that author.
- If the form of citation and reference are not correct, the attribution to the original author is likely to be incomplete. Therefore, improper use of style can result in plagiarism. Get a style manual and use it.
- The figure below may help to guide your decisions.
This content is part of the Understanding Plagiarism tutorial created by the Indiana University School of Education.
Properly citing sources is an important part of your research. It allows you to avoid plagiarism and highlights your engagement with related scholarship.
In a nutshell: "Whenever you quote or base your ideas on another person's work, you must document the source you used. Even when you do not quote directly from another work, if reading that source contributed to the ideas presented in your paper, you must give the authors proper credit."
The above extract is taken from the Library's guide on citing sources. Besides providing an overview, it links to formatting rules for the major style guides in use, including those for the MLA style (via Purdue University).
* SHORTCUT: Many databases allow you to export citations in a given style (MLA, APA, etc.) . When provided, this functionality is often found in the email options. *
Citation management tools help you manage your research, collect and cite sources, and create bibliographies in a variety of citation styles.
One such tool available to UCB students is RefWorks. Free for UC Berkeley users, it allows you to create your own database by importing references and using them for footnotes and bibliographies. Use the RefWorks New User Form to sign up.