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Understanding Academic Dishonesty: Tips for Avoiding Plagiarism

Successful Steps for Paraphrasing

  1. Read the entire text, underlining key points and main ideas.

  2. In your own words, write a sentence about the main idea of the text (i.e. summarize). Also, write key points in the text.

  3. Highlight any words, phrases, or key passages that you would want to quote directly.

  4. Combine the above into a new paraphrased paragraph, using your own words.

Tips for Avoiding Plagiarism

Best practices for avoiding plagiarism

There are many ways to avoid plagiarism, including developing good research habits, good time management, and taking responsibility for your own learning. Listed below are some specific tips:

  • Don't procrastinate with your research and assignments. Good research takes time. Procrastinating makes it likely you'll run out of time or be unduly pressured to finish. Plan your research well in advance, and seek help when needed from your professor, from librarians, the Academic Success Center staff, and other campus support staff.
  • Commit to doing your own work. If you aren't sure about how to complete an assignment, how to get started, or what your teacher's expectations are, talk with your professor. This includes considerations when approaching group work. Make sure you clearly understand when your professor says it's okay to work with others on assignments and submit group work on assignments, versus when assignments and papers need to be done individually. 
  • Take careful notes throughout your research process and as you begin drafting your paper. One good practice is to clearly label within your notes the ideas that are your own (e.g. writing "ME" in parentheses) and ideas and words from others (e.g. using a citation such as "Smith, 2005, p. 14" or something to indicate author, source, source date, and page number if there are pages). You'll need this information for your reference list or citations anyway, so you'll benefit from good organization from the beginning.
  • Cite your sources. Always cite other people's work, words, ideas and phrases that you use directly or indirectly in your paper. Regardless of whether you found the information in a book, article, or website, and whether it's text, a graphic, an illustration, chart or table, you need to cite it. When you use words or phrases from other sources, these need to be in quotes. Current style manuals, available at the Parks Library Main Desk, will help you use a consistent means of citation. They may also give further advice on avoiding plagiarism.
  • Understand good paraphrasing. Simply using synonyms or scrambling an author's words and phrases and then using these "rewrites" uncredited in your work is plagiarism, plain and simple. Good paraphrasing requires that you understand the original source, that you use your own words to summarize a point or concept, and that you put quotation marks around any unique words or phrases you use from the original source. Good paraphrasing also requires that you cite the original source -- this gives credit to the idea, even if it is in your words. 
    Source: Understanding plagiarism: Information literacy guide. Iowa State University. [Accessed March 9, 2020]



Looking for more information on academic dishonesty and plagiarism?  Do you want to test your knowledge?  Here are a few tutorials you can go through. 


When writing a paper and citing sources, follow the citation style indicated by your instructor.  Here are a few helpful resources: