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Plagiarism 101

Learn the in's and out's of Plagirism

Strategies to Help

Start early;
procrastination often leads to the temptation to cut corners.  When you put off starting your paper till the last minute, you don't have time to really digest the information and formulate opinions.  It is easy to fall back on lazy patchwriting or too many quotes.  Start your research as soon as possible because...


Research can be time-consuming, and it is a process.  Once you start searching on your chosen topic, you might find it either too broad or narrow, or maybe you might need to adjust your topic once you start reading more about it. Searching for information on your topic is not usually a "once and done" prospect.  Once you start writing your paper, you may find holes in your research, and you need to find more information. But as you find your sources...


Make sure to keep a list of the citation information, so it is easier to keep track of your sources as you use them in your paper. There are many free online tools to help with this but definitely check out Zotero. Also, keep track of what you are using from each source...


Take notes and tie the note to a citation.  A common method used to stay organized is the note card system. Tried and true, it can save you time in the long run. This is a great explanation of how it works. Make sure when you are taking notes on your sources to not take quotes out of context because...


Context is important. Often students put quotes into their papers that seem to back up their point, but the quote is taken out of context, or it is not clear how the quote relates to the point the student is making. 

You will need to give a brief introduction to the quote to let readers understand the context of the words and their relationship to your argument. Quotes that do not reflect the meaning of the author within the context are considered out-of-context.  Quotes should not be used out-of-context to convey a meaning not intended by the author.  In addition, quotes must be incorporated logically into a sequence of sentences.

Incorrect use:

People pay higher prices for organic food.  “The FDA simply does not have enough agents to do thorough inspections” (Jones).

Corrected use:

People pay higher prices for organic food.  Jones makes a good point when he explains how really impossible it is at this time to tell whether foods are grown without certain chemicals or pesticides to justify these higher prices. “The FDA simply does not have enough agents to do thorough inspections” (Jones).

--PHSC Writing Center (Links to an external site.)