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University of Connecticut University Libraries

Student Instruction

Plagiarism: How to Recognize it and How to Avoid It

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is taking the work of another person and passing it as your own. This means copying from print or electronic sources. Plagiarized papers are typically...

  • Downloaded off an Internet site
  • Copy & pasted from an online database
  • Copied verbatim from a book or article
  • Not cited accurately

Avoiding Plagiarism

Anti-Plagiarizing Techniques

Legitimate research and writing involves drawing the line between what you learned and what others have said. Once you have found the sources you intend to use, you then need to identify them for your reader.

  • Give the reference as soon as you've mentioned the idea
  • After quoting, explain the significance of the quotation
  • Use others' words only to support your own ideas
  • Keep careful records of all books and articles used
  • Download or print any online material you use, in case it becomes inaccessible later
  • Paraphrase the material, don't just interweave your own language with the authors'

Citation Styles

Basic Components of a Citation....

Books: title, author(s), edition, place and date of the book's publication; and publisher
Articles: magazine/journal and article titles; author(s); issue; and pages
Online Sources: URL, institution or organization associated with the Web site, date you accessed the source

You may be asked to use different styles for documenting ideas or facts -- the primary sources are:

What don't I have to cite?

Common Knowledge

Information that is common knowledge can generally be used without giving credit. But, just because it's on the Internet does not mean it's common knowledge.

Common Knowledge: 'Huckleberry Finn' is an American classic.


Submitting a plagiarized paper may trigger a failing grade and further penalties. For additional information on Academic Misconduct, see Part VI: Academic Integrity in Undergraduate Education and Research of the University's Student Code.


Which of these is NOT an example of plagiarism?
Cutting and pasting several paragraphs from different articles
Copying materials verbatim from a text
Handing in your sister's old paper on Ethics
None of the above. They are all plagiarism.

You don't need to cite the source if...
you're quoting statistics
the author is dead
the information is common knowledge
the information is wrong

Web citations need to include
publication date
all of the above

To avoid plagiarism,
always provide a citation
move some of the words around
don't use quotations
just download the material

Tutorial created by Shelley Goldstein.
Permission is granted for unlimited non-commercial use of this exercise.