Avoiding Plagiarism

Common Mistakes

Most people do not deliberately commit plagiarism. Usually, it results from:

Procrastination: 

It is important to set aside adequate time to complete your assignment. When using sources, you should get in the habit of citing them in full as you write. Filling in page numbers, making footnotes, or making a works cited page or bibliography after you have finished writing often leads to inadvertent mis-citations or omissions.

Incomplete understanding of original material: 

Avoid using any source with which you are not completely comfortable. As a general rule, if you cannot restate the main idea of a passage in your own words without referring to the original source, then you should not use this source for your own work.

Citation Errors: 

Common errors that lead to accidental plagiarism include using words or passages from the original source without using quotation marks and/or without citing the source; using different citation formats within the same assignment; or using a citation format incorrectly.

Poor Note-taking: 

Inexperienced students often forget to put quotation marks around notes taken directly from text, or find that their notes are disorganized. As a result, they cannot tell which notes came from which source when they are in the stages of writing up their assignment.