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FYE 1000 - First-Year Experience: Plagiarism

This Research guide introduces library resources that are helpful for research.

Avoiding Plagiarism

Avoid Plagiarism

Detailed Notes

An important step in avoiding plagiarism is taking detailed notes during the researching process.  For every piece of information you write down, include where you found it: the source and the page number.

Be Careful When Paraphrasing

When you are presenting someone else's ideas, but not directly quoting them, you still need to give credit to the original source.  However, you can still be guilty of plagiarism if your paraphrase is too similar to the original.  A mere superficial change in the text does not count as a paraphrase.  If your paraphrase does not add something valuable to your paper (the paraphrase is shorter than the original, the paraphrase makes the original clearer for your audience, etc) then consider using an exact quote instead.


Anyone can be guilty of plagiarism, despite the best intentions.

Students, researchers, authors, professors, academicians, and Klingons who fail to cite a source from which they have borrowed ideas have committed plagiarism.


Plagiarism is when you use someone else’s ideas without properly attributing the ideas to their author.

Your intentions do not determine if it is plagiarism or not.  If you do not cite a source, it is plagiarism.

Plagiarism is unethical and illegal.  If you plagiarize as a student, you will likely get a 0 for the work.  If you try to publish a plagiarized work, legal action will likely be taken against you.


Plagiarism can occur at any time.  However, it frequently occurs when students are pressed for time.  Rushing causes students to cut corners, and intentionally or unintentionally look for shortcuts.  Avoid temptation by allowing yourself enough time to do the job well and honestly.


Plagiarism can be found in any work where you use ideas that aren’t your own but do not attribute them to their author.

Plagiarism occurs on Christian college campuses, just as it does on secular ones.  Unless we arm ourselves with truth, and pray for the Holy Spirit to enable us to carry out what we know to be true, there is no reason why we would not fall to this sin, like any other.


Our sin nature tempts us towards both dishonesty and laziness.  Either of these could lead us to plagiarize.  Make academic integrity a spiritual battle.

People can also plagiarize out of ignorance.  But now you know something about plagiarism and don’t have that excuse!


Plagiarism can occur accidentally or intentionally.  If you forget to include a source or forget to cite it correctly, your intentions may be good, but you still plagiarized. 

If you try to pass someone else’s work off as your own, that is intentional plagiarism.  Both are academically irresponsible and should be avoided.

Pray that your work would be pleasing to God.  Then do your academic work “as to the Lord and not to man” (Eph 6:7, ESV)

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