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So, you have to write a paper and your instructor has lectured you about
not plagiarizing. Do you know how to do it? Welcome to Plagiarism: How Not to Do It. Plagiarism is simply using other people’s
writing or ideas without giving them credit for it. It is taking the credit yourself. If you copied the entire text from someone
else, say from a website or a book, and put it in your paper as your own writing; that
clearly is cheating. You didn’t write the words, someone else
did. It is plagiarism of the worst kind. And if you do this, you know you’re cheating. But sometimes people plagiarize without intending
to. When you take sections of other people’s
work and include it in your paper, you must let the reader know which words and ideas
are yours and which ones are someone else’s. One way to do this is simply to quote your
source. You put quotation marks around it, or block quote longer sections, and say where
the quote came from. But you also need to cite the source of materials
you use in your writing even if you are not quoting it word for word. For instance, let’s say you’re writing
a paper about the invasion of Normandy during World War Two. Because you read that was somewhere 130,000
and 156,000 troops in the invasion, you write that “There were about 150,000 Allied troops
in the landing.” While you are not quoting the source where
you got this information because you are writing it in your own words, you still need to tell
the reader where this information came from. You did not stand there counting troops on
D-Day. You got the information from a source. So
tell your reader. Depending on the style required, such as APA
or MLA, you cite your source in the paragraph where you used the information. The same thing applies to ideas. If you are using someone else’s idea, like
“The invasion of Normandy was one of the most important battles in American history,” you should let the reader know where you got
that idea. If it is your own conclusion after reading
about it and studying it, then you do not need to cite a source because the source is
you. It is your idea. Sometimes papers are a combination of other
sources and your own ideas. That’s okay. Just be sure to cite your sources and you
won’t be plagiarizing. The only time you do not need to be citing
other sources is when the information is common knowledge; like “George Washington was the first U.S.
President.” You do not have to find a source for this
since it is common knowledge. “Who are you calling common?” For more detailed help in avoiding plagiarism,
see the links below.