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Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

Avoiding Plagiarism: Tips and Tricks

Tips for Plagiarism Prevention

  • Don't procrastinate.  Students who rush their work can make careless mistakes, such as forgetting to include a particular citation, or not having all the information needed for documentation.  Students under pressure may also make poor choices, such as not documenting sources and hoping the professor won't notice.  Believe us- your professor will notice, and you won't like the long-term consequences.
  • Take careful notes.  Be very clear in your notes whether you are writing down word-for-word what you found somewhere else, recording your own ideas, paraphrasing, or summarizing.  Record all the information you will need to create your citations.
  • Use a citation tool.  Many databases provide automatically generated citations, just be sure to double check them.  Lehigh also supports ZoteroBib, Zotero, and RefWorks.
  • Cite your sources. Whenever you quote, paraphrase, summarize, or share an unusual fact, tell your reader where the information came from.
  • Get comfortable with the required citation style.  Some of the  commonly used citation styles on our campus are APA, MLA, and Chicago/Turabian.  While they share many similarities, they also have differing requirements in regards to what and when to cite.
  • Ask your professor. If you're not sure about citing something, check with your instructor. Ultimately, she will be the one grading your assigment- or bringing you up on plagiarism charges.