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Writing Help & Coaching

Guide for all schools and disciplines: covers Regent's Academic Coaching writing center or writing lab plus library resources

Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

Plagiarism is a serious issue! If you aren't already convinced, double-check the penalties outlined in the Academic Honor Code and Disciplinary Policy of your Student Handbook.

Watch this video (click here), made by our writing tutors in the Academic Coaching center, about avoiding plagiarism.

Also use the tutorial slideshow below to make sure you understand how to define and avoid different types of plagiarism.

When do I need to Cite? Quoting, Paraphrasing, & Summarizing

You need to cite whenever you borrow words, facts, or ideas from any other source--even when you put them in your own words.  Anything that is not common, undisputed factual knowledge must also be cited from a credible source.

Always include the author's name and the page number, paragraph, or line number you are citing somewhere in the sentence in your paper, like this:

According to Mark Twain in the essay "Corn Pone Opinions," it is very hard for people to think independently because society rewards us for conformity (3).  This citation is in MLA format; other formats require the year of the source or footnotes.  

Note that the author's name is cited in the sentence in an author tag or signal phrase.  A page number follows the summary. Always cite an author's name and keep track of page numbers when taking notes, so you don't lose track of where you got information. The source title is cited because it's a classic source, but it is not usually necessary to include the title.

There are three ways to use a source that all must be cited:

1. Quoting: If you borrow exact words, place the words in quotation marks as well as citing. Be sure to copy quotes exactly. Only use quotes when the language in the source is very unique and shouldn't be changed.  Don't rely too much on quotes. Always introduce quotes and then explain what point they prove (sandwich them in your own words).

2. Summarizing & 3. Paraphrasing: If you summarize (explain the main point of a source) or paraphrase (put a specific idea from a source into your own words), you still need to cite the source. Be sure you have changed the wording completely, including the sentence structure, so you are not accidentally plagiarizing the source's words (put borrowed words in quotation marks). 

In MLA format, you can put the author's last name and page number at the end of the sentence like this (Smith 37).

Or, you can use the author's name in the sentence instead, like "According to John Smith, [quote or paraphrase] (37)." 

Your instructor will expect to see anything that is not common knowledge, or that is not written in your usual style, to be cited and placed in quotation marks if directly quoted. 

Your papers will also be run through plagiarism software that will compare your writing to the internet and other student papers. Google also makes it easy for professors to detect plagiarism. 

Additionally, AI-generated papers are easy to detect because they are robotic, repetitive, shallow, inaccurate, and have stylistic issues like using overly technical terms that most students would not use.  Using AI constitutes plagiarism & academic dishonesty.

Avoiding Plagiarism Resources