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Citation Help & How to Avoid Plagiarism: Plagiarism - What is it? How to Avoid Plagiarizing

This is a collection of free online resources to help understand and create citations as well as to understand what plagiarism is and how you can avoid it.


Most professors now require students to do some research - whether a "term paper" or a short assignment to find some articles or other sources of information, read and think about the material and then write an essay that incorporates what you have learned from your research. You may be asked to use direct quotations and to paraphrase material from your research sources. You may (almost certainly will) be required to provide a page at the end of your paper that lists all the sources you used in your research and that page will have to be full citations in MLA, APA or Chicago (CMS) formatting style.

You will also be required to learn how to avoid plagiarizing from your information sources. It is unethical and sometimes illegal to use another person's words, images, or even ideas without giving them credit. To put it another way, plagiarizing is stealing someone else's work or ideas by pretending that they are yours. If you do not acknowledge (give credit to) a source you have used in writing a paper or making a presentation, you have plagiarized and the college as well as your professors will penalize you. Plagiarizing is also illegal outside of college and writers and musicians are often taken to court to defend themselves against a charge of plagiarizing. There are civil monetary penalties for plagiarizing and there is the emotional penalty of being publicly shamed (and perhaps losing your audience).

This Guide is recommended to all students taking the Hostos Library workshop "Citing Your Sources to Avoid Plagiarism" and it is also available from the Hostos Library Homepage for anyone to use at any time. There are no usernames or passwords or bar codes needed to access this guide from off-campus. We hope that you find the resources for understanding plagiarism and help with learning how to cite (acknowledge) your sources of information with our Guide..

A Few Good Websites on Plagiarism

Short Videos on Avoiding Plagiarism

Interactive Plagiarism Game

Prof. Miriam Laskin, Academic Librarian