Unit 2: Paraphrasing and Avoiding Plagiarism

6 Avoiding Plagiarism

Avoiding Plagiarism

How can I avoid plagiarizing?

Whenever you write academics essays, you will be expected to present both your own original ideas as well as the ideas of other writers in order to help support your own argument. Academic essays often contain a balance of new, original ideas and the ideas of others that you have read. It is therefore important to make sure that it is clear which ideas are yours and which ones come from other authors and sources.

Integrate other’s ideas in your writing by:

  • Quoting: Use another person’s exact words in quotation marks. Quoting requires very little effort on your part.
  • Paraphrasing: Rewrite another person’s ideas by using your own language. Paraphrasing requires more effort and thinking on your part than simply quoting.
  • Summarizing: Rewrite another person’s ideas by using your own language BUT in a concise way. Summarizing is the most difficult method because you must think critically about anther writer’s words and ideas and condense them so that you only convey the most essential information found in them.

To avoid plagiarism you must cite:

  • Quotations: When using an author’s specific word or words, you must place those words within quotation marks and you must credit the source.
  • Information: If a piece of information isn’t common knowledge, you must provide a source.
  • Ideas: An author’s ideas may include their opinions or conclusions.
  • Facts, statistics, events: Any information that most people are unlikely to know without conducting research.

How to Cite Generative AI

The standards for citing AI tools are still evolving. It is important that you confirm your instructor’s expectations for both using AI and documenting that use.

To learn more about how to cite your use of AI Tools see the UW Libraries’ Research Guides on Citing Generative AI.

Knowledge Check

From Excelsior Online Writing Lab, How to Cite Sources: Proper Citations

Language and information that you DON’T have to paraphrase:

  • Technical terms and phrases, such as “standard deviation” (in Statistics).
  • Basic common knowledge:

a) General common knowledge is factual information considered to be in the public domain, such as birth and death dates of well-known figures, and generally accepted dates of military, political, literary, and other historical events. In general, factual information contained in multiple standard reference works can usually be considered to be in the public domain.

b) Field-specific common knowledge is “common” only within a particular field or specialty. It may include facts, theories, or methods that are familiar to readers within that discipline. For instance, you may not need to cite a reference to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity in a paper for a physics class but you must be sure that this information is so widely known within that field that it will be shared by your readers.

  • If in doubt, be cautious and cite the source. 

Adapted from: The University of Wisconsin, Writing Center, page on quoting and paraphrasing

Knowledge Check

From Excelsior Online Writing Lab https://owl.excelsior.edu/plagiarism/plagiarism-how-to-avoid-it/plagiarism-common-knowledge/plagiarism-common-knowledge-try-it-out/

Knowledge Check

From Excelsior Online Writing Lab https://owl.excelsior.edu/plagiarism/plagiarism-check-your-understanding/


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