Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism | College of Information Sciences and Technology
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Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism

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Plagiarism is the act of representing someone else’s words or ideas as your own. Whether deliberate or unintentional, it is a serious breach of academic integrity that carries serious consequences. The best protection against unintentional plagiarism is to educate yourself:

  • Learn about the various forms of plagiarism, and how to avoid them. The Penn State Department of English Types of Plagiarism document includes excellent definitions and examples of plagiarism by paraphrase and mosaic plagiarism. Also see the iStudy for Success! Academic Integrity Module for further examples of plagiarism.
  • Practice responsible research techniques. The Penn State Information Literacy and You Web site (through the University Libraries) provides a wealth of information on identifying and locating resources; using periodicals, journals, and online sources; citing your sources; and more.
  • Keep a writer's guide close by as you write. A Writer's Reference by Diana Hacker provides very thorough information on how to cite your research materials. Specific samples illustrate the appropriate style for works cited pages, in-text citations, manuscript formats, and more.
  • When in doubt, ask for help. Your Instructor and the peer tutors at the Writing Center are available to answer questions regarding proper citation of outside sources.