Avoiding Plagiarism

This chart follows MLA style. For information on other styles see those sections (APA and CMS).

Using something word-for-word from another source?

Put quotation marks around the excerpt, use a signal phrase, and include a parenthetical citation with the page number:

McGuffin and Cross have said, “No one should ever eat cake without frosting” (22).

Or

Cake, according to McGuffin and Cross, is one of those foods that should never be eaten “without frosting” (22).

Using something word-for-word from another source but changing word forms or adding words to improve clarity and flow?

Put quotation marks around the excerpt, and put brackets around the segments you have changed. Include a signal phrase and a parenthetical citation with the page number:

McGuffin and Cross seem to think that “…eat[ing] cake without frosting” should never be allowed (22).

Paraphrasing or summarizing the author’s ideas without using the author’s exact words?

Use a signal phrase and include a parenthetical citation with the page number:

According to McGuffin and Cross, cake is one of those special foods that require an additive to be properly enjoyed, like frosting (22).

Using something from a source but substituting in some synonyms?

DON’T. This is plagiarism, even if you use a signal phrase and include a parenthetical citation.

 

Quotations

  1. All quoted material should be enclosed in quotations marks unless set off from the rest of the text.
  2. Quoted material should be accurate word-for-word. If anything was changed, brackets or ellipsis marks should indicated where the changes/omissions took place.
  3. A clear signal phrase should alert your readers for each quotation and tell them why the quotation is there.
  4. A parenthetical citation should follow each quotation.
  5. Each quotation must be put in context.

Summaries (Paraphrasing)

  1. Any summaries of the text should not include plagiarized wording.
  2. Summaries must be followed by parenthetical citations.
  3. A signal phrase should let your readers know where the summarized material begins as well as tell them why the summary is included in your paper.

Statistics & Facts

  1. Any facts that are not common knowledge must have a parenthetical citation included in your paper.
  2. Use a signal phrase to help your reader understand why the facts are being cited, unless it is clear enough without one.