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Research Process: A Step-By-Step Guide: 5a. Avoid Plagiarism

Keys to Avoiding Plagiarism

To avoid plagiarizing:

  • Paraphrase the original text into your own words.
  • Use quotation marks around text that has been taken directly from the original source.
  • Cite every source of information you use in your paper unless it is common knowledge or the results of your own research.

Plagiarism Tutorials

Real World Examples

Think plagiarism is just an issue for college students writing research papers? Think again!  Check out these real world examples of celebrities being accused of plagiarizing.

Plagiarism: Don't Do It

Posted with permission from Lehman College.

What Is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is using someone else's work without giving him or her credit.  "Work" includes text, ideas, images, videos, and audio. In the academic world, you must follow these rules:

  • When you use the exact words, you must use quotation marks and provide a citation.
  • When you put the information into your own words, you must provide a citation. (See Paraphrasing tab.)
  • When you use an image, audio, or video created by someone else, you must provide a citation.

Plagiarism could happen with a sentence, a paragraph, or even just a word! For example, Stephen Colbert, of the television show "The Colbert Report," made up the word "truthiness," meaning something that sounds like it should be true.  If you say in a paper something has a ring of "truthiness"- you should cite Colbert.  If someone else's words catch your interest, you should cite them. 

Plagiarism is a serious academic offense. Penalties can range from failing the assignment to being expelled from the University. See the Lehigh University Code of Conduct site  (Article III) for information on the University Student Conduct system and the expectations of Academic Integrity.