Chapter Fourteen: Avoiding Plagiarism / Additional Resources / Foundational Materials Assignment

Avoiding Plagiarism

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Scholars keep track of their references as a way to build upon and give credit to other scholars. The trail of references from one scholar to another are like breadcrumbs that researchers can follows to find their path back through a scholarly discourse. By citing others, we are respecting their work and the tradition that keeps the trail of breadcrumbs legible so others can follow it after us.

Plagiarism is not just a theft of someone else’s ideas or words, but is also a violation of the code that scholars and researchers live by. Without a clear picture of where ideas and scholarly language comes from, we lose our trail.

Wendy Belcher, in her book Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success, provides advice for avoiding plagiarism. First, she notes that you will be caught. Especially with the digital search tools available today, checking for plagiarism has become fast and easy. And the penalties can be severe. Plagiarism has cost scholars their reputations and livelihoods. It’s just not worth it! To avoid plagiarism

To Avoid Plagiarism, Do Not

  • Present someone else’s entire work as your own
  • Change little bits and call it your own
  • Reword it and call it your own
  • Translate it and call it your own
  • Take sections or paragraphs and call it your own
  • Use word-for-word quotes unless you put them in quotation marks and properly cite them (161).

Additionally, be careful when paraphrasing that your wording is too close. If you are having a hard time paraphrasing, it is better to use direct quotes instead of paraphrasing (161).

Finally, don’t re-use your own work without acknowledging it. Self-plagiarism, in which scholars re-use direct language from other works they’ve published or submitted for credit, is also wrong.

It is always fine to cite other scholars in your work. Scholars do it all the time. But you must give proper credit.

There are several resources available via the UCF Libraries and Writing Center to help you avoid plagiarism

Writing Center Handout: This quick-reference guide distinguishes between plagiarism and the misuse of sources as well as what types of materials require citations, the basics of quoting, paraphrasing, and more. Also see this handout on quoting and paraphrasing.

Video Tutorial: The following videos were created as part of the UCF Libraries’ Research Tips Thursdays webinars, a weekly series designed to help students develop their research skills. The videos featured here focus on skills that every researcher needs to now: When to quote others, how to paraphrase, and why we cite.

Let’s begin with To Quote Or Not To Quote:

Use Your Words: Paraphrasing Made Easy:

Why We Cite:

Avoiding Plagiarism ModulesThese modules cover Avoiding Plagiarism and Citing Sources in both MLA and APA styles. They’re a good way to test your knowledge once you’ve read the above handouts and watched the video.

If, after exhausting these resources, you need additional help or clarification about plagiarism, please make an appointment with the Writing Center or consult with your instructor.


Go to the Quizzes area and take the Plagiarism Quiz.



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Strategies for Conducting Literary Research Copyright © 2021 by Barry Mauer & John Venecek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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