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Research Help: Plagiarism

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Plagiarism is using someone else's words or ideas without giving them proper credit.

Plagiarism is using someone else’s ideas or words without giving them proper credit. Plagiarism can range from unintentional (forgetting to include a source in a bibliography) to intentional (buying a paper online, using another writer’s ideas as your own to make your work sound smarter). Beginning writers and expert writers alike can all plagiarize. Understand that plagiarism is a serious charge in academia, but also in professional settings. 

Purdue OWL Avoiding Plagiarism

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If you are unsure about citations, how to phrase something, or where to find research, ask an expert! The Academy librarian is happy to help with  research and the Writing Resource Center can help with citations and phrasing.

Quoting and Paraphrasing

Two ways to use someone's ideas are quoting or word-for-word, and paraphrasing, or rewording. Either way, give the original author credit for their idea.


When using someone's idea word-for-word, introduce it either before or after the quote, and put their words in quotations. Then, give the author credit directly after the sentence using the appropriate citation style.

  • As Charles Dickens famously wrote, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times", which it most certainly was for all of us in that fateful summer (1).

The source must also be included at the end of the paper in a list of Works Cited, such as this one below which is following the rules of the MLA style. 

Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. Cutchogue, N.Y: Buccaneer Books, 1987. Print.


When you take someone's ideas and reword them using your own vocabulary, you still need to give the original author credit

  • In his new book, Undeniable, Bill Nye cited a 9,550 year old tree to dispute the claims that the Earth is only 6,000 years old (13).

As when quoting, the source must be included at the end of the paper in a list of Works Cited, such as this one below which is following the rules of the MLA style. 

Nye, Bill, and Corey S. Powell. Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation. 2014. Print.

(Madison College)

Visual Plagiarism

Images, videos, and other visual media can also be plagiarized. This can look like failing to cite a visual in your paper or presentation, or taking a work someone else made and claiming it as your own.

Image citation for photos and essays

Essays: The relevant information should be included alongside the image or object, or in a footnote at the bottom of the page. A full citation must be included in the bibliography section at the end of the essay.

Photos and graphics: Provide the relevant attribution next to the photograph, or close by (eg on the edge or bottom of the page) if that is too obtrusive.

Slideshows and presentations: Include the attribution either next to the work or as a footer. You can also include a 'references' slide at the end of the presentation that cites all of the materials used.

Films: Include the attribution when the work appears on the screen during the film. Alternative, include the attribution in the credits, just as music would be shown in a commercial film. 

Podcasts: Mention the name of the artist during the podcast, like a radio announcement, and provide full attribution on the website, next to where the podcast is available.

(Madison College)