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How to Avoid Plagiarism

All of us (students and faculty) are responsible for fully understanding what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.  We all need to learn and practice this skill both at the university and in the workplace.  

Below you will find excerpts from the APSU Student Code of Conduct and the Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary.  In addition, you will find links to websites which will help you understand how to detect and avoid plagiarism.

For information beyond this page and its links, check out The Plagiarism Handbook: Strategies for Preventing, Detecting, and Dealing with Plagiarism by Robert A. Harris which is located in the General Book Collection Book, Level 3  PN167.H37 2001.  


Plagiarism is one form of academic dishonesty.  The  APSU Student Code of Conduct states that,

"Academic dishonesty may be defined as any act of dishonesty in academic work. This includes, but is not limited to, plagiarism, the changing or falsifying of any academic documents or materials, cheating, and giving or receiving of unauthorized aid in tests, examinations, or other assigned work. Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are immediately responsible to the instructor of the class. Penalties for academic misconduct will vary with the seriousness of the offense and may include, but are not limited to, a grade of "F" on the work in question, a grade of "F" in the course, reprimand, probation, suspension, and expulsion."

According to the Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary,

to plagiarize is to "to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own : use (another's production) without crediting the source"


Plagiarism - adapted from a site developed for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, this site contains a wealth of information, including articles, case studies, and detection tools. Students who wish to avoid plagiarism and faculty who want to detect and prevent it will find this a good place to begin their search for information.  Additional resources covering ethics in individual disciplines are also included.

Faculty may want to assign and/or students may want to take 20 minutes to explore a  tutorial which provides information about plagiarism, paraphrasing, and citing sources.  Here's the link:

Plagiarism: The Crime of Intellectual Kidnapping


Additional websites that contain information about how to avoid plagiarism are

Plagiarism: What it is and how to recognize and avoid it
- this Indiana University website explains "common knowledge",  gives examples of acceptable and unacceptable paraphrases, and more.

Plagiarism Resources for Students
- this Eastern Connecticut State University website provides links to websites which provide information on quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing.  There is also a link to a website containing an exercise on citation and paraphrase.

Avoiding Plagiarism
- this Lake Sumter Community College website provides links to " web sites that offer tips for avoiding plagiarism and discuss when to cite and how to paraphrase sources."  


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