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Writing Help: Plagiarism

Need help writing your research paper? This guide will give you tips on grammar, punctuation, formatting your paper, and the writing process for research papers.

Paraphrases and Quotes

Not sure what the difference is between paraphrasing, summarizing and quoting? 

Paraphrasing: "Paraphrasing involves putting a passage from source material into your own words. A paraphrase must also be attributed to the original source. Paraphrased material is usually shorter than the original passage, taking a somewhat broader segment of the source and condensing it slightly." from Purdue Owl

Summarizing: A summary is "much shorter that the original source. If your aim is to summarize a long passage, look for the author's most important ideas." from The Curious Writer

Quoting: A quote contains the exact words from a source. Don't forget to use quotation marks and cite the source.

If you need further help, try these websites:

Academic Integrity

To learn about McLennan Community College’s expectations regarding academic integrity and the consequences of cheating, plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty, please review Academic Integrity: A Student’s Responsibilities.

What is Plagiarism?

 Created by Paul Robeson Library, Rutgers Univ.

Guidelines for Avoiding Plagiarism

McLennan Community College

Guidelines for Avoiding Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the intentional—or unintentional—use of someone else’s work without adequate documentation. Whenever writers want to include another’s ideas, key terms, or copied text into their own papers, they must always use that borrowed information accurately and ethically.

Documentation, an agreed upon style of providing credit to others’ work, is necessary in order to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is a serious offense in college-level writing, for it is intellectually dishonest, robbing authors of their property. All documentation styles include internal citations, a works cited list, and quotation marks around copied terms and information.

To consider: As we would never borrow one of our neighbor’s possessions without asking permission, we should never use someone's words and ideas without permission. Correctly documenting someone else's material permits us legal use of words and ideas not belonging to us. It should be obvious that buying papers, using someone else's papers, and similar activities are plagiarism at its worst. Each instructor will determine penalties for plagiarized work.

Tip: As many documentation styles exist (MLA, APA, and Chicago are used in colleges and universities), be certain to ask your professor which type of documentation style is required for the class.

Document when

  • You use someone's ideas from any traditional or web source
  • You copy sentences and phrases from a source
  • You copy a key term from a source
  • You use information from an interview or survey
  • You copy pictures, charts, and diagrams from sources
  • You use information you did not originate