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Avoiding Plagiarism: Avoiding Plagiarism

Avoiding Plagiarism

How to Avoid Plagiarism (from Indiana University)

(See also - Avoiding Copyright Infringement)

To avoid accusations of plagiarism, give credit whenever you use:

  • another person’s idea, opinion, or theory;
  • any facts, statistics, graphs, drawings—any pieces of information—that are not common knowledge;
  • quotations of another person’s actual spoken or written words; or
  • paraphrase of another person’s spoken or written words.

Other tips include:

  • Keep track of the source of information or ideas that you find in the publications / works of others such as the Author, Title and other publication information (e.g.  journal name, name of book publisher, publication date).  
  • Also be sure to track the URL where you found information, and the date when you accessed the website.  
  • Don't get rid of the above information until the paper has been graded.  
  • Be sure to Cite your sources properly.   Find out what publication style you should follow, which will differ by displine (e.g. APA, Chicago, MLA, etc.) (See Citing Sources for examples)

Note:  Copyright infringement and plagarism are easy to detect these days with plagarism software.    Be sure to use quotation marks around direct quotations or indent long direct quotations.   What you need to do will depend on the style guide you are following.   In addition to clearly marking direct quotes, you also need to cite the source of the quotation.   Instead of using direct quotations, you can also paraphrase the information you are citing.   Remember that because it is not your idea, you must still cite the source of the information.


Avoiding Copyright Infringement

When determining what content you can use directly from another source in your Thesis or Dissertation, you need to keep Fair Use in mind.   

While there may be arguements for fair use under educational purposes, one thing you have to keep in mind is that your theses and disseration will become publicly accessible in INDIGO.   One could argue using certain copyrighted material could have a potential effect on the market for that material.   In addition, disserations will be provided to Proquest and Proquest is a commerical publisher.  Therefore, there will be a commercial market in which your work is presented.   For those reasons, fair use may not be an arguement for using copyright work without permission in your Thesis or Dissertation.

Proquest/ UMI will be watching closely to ensure copyright clearance has been received for the following: 

  • Long quotations
  • Reproduced publications
  • Unpublished materials
  • Poetry
  • Dialogue from a play, screenplay, broadcast, or novel
  • Music
  • Graphic or Pictorial Works
  • Computer Software
  • Sources located on the Internet

In cases where fair use arguments cannot be made, you need to request proper copyright permissions in order to include the copyrighted material in you work.   See below for Steps for Requesting Permission.

For more information see:

Requesting Permissions - Sample Letters

Copyright Advisory Office - Columbia University - Model Permission Letters

Additional Sources to Consult

Sources to Consult for further guidance on Avoiding Plagarism

Check your Work for Plagiarism

Run Your Work through Safe Assign

1. Requesting the creation of a Blackboard work site via this form:

Student's name and netID should go in the "Instructor" fields, and for the course name enter something such as "<netID> Work Site"

2. After the work site has been created in Blackboard, go to the site and create a SafeAssign assignment by clicking on "Assignments," hovering over "Assessments," selecting "SafeAssignment" - fill out the required fields and click 'Submit'

You'll then need to click "Go to Student View" in the upper-right corner of the page. From this view, you can navigate back to the SafeAssignment and upload your thesis.

3. Please email when you are done using your work site so ACCC/ ITL may then decommission this work site. 


Run Your Work through Ithenticate

Note: Faculty, staff, and graduate students submitting theses and dissertations to the Graduate College may request accounts.  Faculty and staff may request accounts through their college's research dean or designate.   Graduate students should speak with their advisors about access.