When you are writing a research paper, you have to be aware of plagiarism and its consequences. Plagiarism is taking credit for someone else's writing as if it were one's own. To avoid plagiarism, you must provide full citations for all types of sources, including, books, articles, government documents, interviews, Internet sources, and media.
The penalties for plagiarism are heavy, starting with failing grades and extending all the way to expulsion. Furthermore, plagiarists lose the opportunity to develop their writing skills and this diminishes the value of their education. Therefore, you should be very careful to avoid plagiarism.
Remember that accidental plagiarism is still plagiarism! Knowing the standards of academic integrity can help you use sources in an academically acceptable way.
Strategies for avoiding plagiarism:
- Write down the citation information and page numbers for every source you use, so that you can easily find it again later.
- Take notes as you are reading to remind yourself what information came from each source.
- Instead of copying and pasting, put the original source aside and write down the main ideas in your own words. This is one method of paraphrasing — using someone else's ideas but putting them in your own words. Note that you will still need to cite the source of these ideas.
- It is a good idea to quote directly from sources, but you must make sure that you put any words that are not your own into quotations and cite their source.
Because not all cultures have the same understanding of plagiarism, and because college is different from high school, it's important that you take time to familiarize yourself with the academic integrity policies at Queens College.
For more information on what constitutes plagiarism and the penalties for committing it, please see the CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity.