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Arkansas State University

Plagiarism: Tips for Avoiding Plagiarism

Learn the basics of plagiarism.

Time Manangement Tool

Assignment Calculator - try it out!  Type in the date your assignment is due, select the subject area, and this time management tool from the Univ of Minnesota Libraries does the rest! 

You'll see a handy timeline for breaking down the components of your research project, including setting deadlines for the specific steps of your assignment research and writing.  Some resources and databases listed in Assignment Calculator will be specific to the University of Minnesota Libraries, but many of these are also available at A-State.

Plagarism Checkers

You may use any one of a number of free plagiarism checkers available on the web to check your work.  These include:

Easy Tips for Avoiding Plagiarism

Do not procrastinate. When you wait until the last minute to begin working on an assignment, you will feel rushed.  Either you will fail to document the use of your sources accurately or you might make a poor choice and choose to simply "copy and paste" together your paper.  Not a good idea.  To avoid this potential hazard, start early.  You will thank yourself later.

Get comfortable with your required/ often used citation style. The more you use your chosen citation style (MLA, APA, Chicago), the more comfortable you become with appropriately using it.

Keep track of your source materials and maintain a working bibliography. Essentially, keep a detailed list (title, author, etc) of any sources that you consult or think you might include in your assignment. In addition, make sure to have either a physical or digital copy of each source so you can easily refer back to it. You can copy physical sources and print or copy digital ones. You can also use a citation manager, like Zotero, to track your sources.

Take good notes. To help you better understand your research and be able to put things into your own words, take good notes while researching by highlighting key passages and annotating (summarizing) the text in the margins. Some tools, like Zotero, have built in note and annotation tools. Just be sure you are not highlighting in a library book!

Ask your professor or librarian. If you are unsure about how to cite source material or whether or not something should be cited, check with your instructor or librarian; they are the professionals.

How Plagiarism is Detected

How your professors/ instructors WILL catch you:

  • The level of the writing style and language is more advanced than the student usually writes

  • Student uses jargon or specialized terminology that is above the student's level of knowledge and education.

  • The quality of writing within the assignment is inconsistent.

  • The paper contains references from that are not included in the reference (Works Cited) page.

  • The paper's reference list (Works Cited) is incomplete.

  • A-State professors have access to anti-plagiarism software via Blackboard.