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Plagiarism: What It Is and How to Avoid It

What is "plagiarism"?
How can I avoid plagiarism?
What could happen if I commit plagiarism?

What is "plagiarism"?

If you use someone else's words or ideas without crediting them, you are committing a type of theft called plagiarism. The Oxford American dictionary defines plagiarism as "(the use of) another person's ideas or writings or inventions as one's own." The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines plagiarism as:

You will find plagiarism defined as an Academic Offense in the UALR Student Handbook.

"Plagiarism: To adopt and reproduce as one’s own, to appropriate to one’s own use, and incorporate in one’s own work without acknowledgement the ideas or passages from the writings or works of others."

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How can I avoid plagiarism?

Basic rule: List all of your information sources in your bibliography.

Here are some tips on avoiding plagiarism if you are:

It is common knowledge that ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law. Check your paper against the wording within the sources to avoid unintended plagiarism. Give credit where credit is due.

Not sure how to cite a particular source? Check out "Guidelines for Using Materials: How To Give Credit Where Credit Is Due"

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Remember that copyright is an area where there is still much ambiguity. Future legislation and court decisions will continue to shape copyright law. Information provided on this website should not be construed as legal advice.