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Avoid Plagiarism

According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Plagiarism is the act of taking the writings of another person and passing them off as one's own. The fraudulence is closely related to forgery and piracy - practices generally in violation of copyright laws."1

The Internet and presentation tools have made it very easy for you to simply copy and paste information that you did not create. Unfortunately, if you do this without citing the source, you are plagiarizing. It is unethical and totally unacceptable to take someone else's work and call it your own.

It is, however, acceptable to:

Example: Paraphrasing Instead of Plagiarizing

Let's say you want to include information from the article "Embargo Act Commentary"2 in your research paper Perform the following:

1. Read the information you want to include in your paper (the highlighted text will be used in this example).

Example of Paraphrasing Text:

2. Write a summary of what you just read. Do not re-read the information. Simply write what you recall.

3. Review your summary with the original. Edit as needed. If you do need to copy exact wording, be sure to put that information in quotations.

4. Cite the information following the documentation style that your teacher recommends or requires.

We encourage you to learn more about plagiarism by checking out the following websites or doing a search on "plagiarism" in netTrekker Search.

Plagiarism Information on the Internet:

Hamilton College: Using Sources

This site provides tips on using sources in writing and offers a number of examples of plagiarism ... some are not so obvious. (

Guide to Avoiding Plagiarism

Defines plagiarism ad illegitimate assistance, and how to avoid it. (

Plagiarism: What It Is and How to Recognize and Avoid It

Defines plagiarism and gives tips on how to avoid it. (

Checking for Plagiarism:

One easy way to check for Internet plagiarism is to use a crawler-based search engine like Google,, Yahoo Search, or Teoma. Just type a long phrase or sentence that you suspect is plagiarized into the search box. Be sure to enclose the phrase in quotation marks. In many cases, if a student has plagiarized from a site on the Internet, this kind of search will reveal the source in the search results. In fact, you often will find that same phrase and/or paper appearing on multiple  sites (a symptom of plagiarism begetting plagiarism).

Works Cited:

1 "plagiarism." Encyclopaedia Britannica. 24 July 2000



2 Newbold, Ken. "Embargo Act Commentary" James Madison: His legacy. James Madison University. 8 July 2002 <>