Avoiding Plagiarism

& Citing Sources

You have an assignment to do and your time is limited. You consult your trusty pal, Google (or better yet, the Gale Research Library Databases), for some inspiration about what to write. You find an article/source that is pretty good-- in fact, it's so good you feel it hits the assignment right on point! What do you do?

          1. Write your essay using your own original ideas, referring back to the source for information learned. You paraphrase, summarize, and quote from the source, being sure to cite everything that came from the source in MLA format, complete with a Works Cited page.
          2. Start writing your essay, finding that the source actually says everything better than you could. Some parts of your essay are your own words, but admittedly, big chunks of the essay are copied and pasted from the source, itself. You include the URL for the source at the end of the essay as a citation to cover your bases.
          3. Start considering a few factors: your writing has never been much good, but this article is pretty impressive; your time is limited to complete this assignment, and this article is already written; your knowledge about how to give credit to this source correctly is shaky at best, and there is no time to pretend you know how to cite a source. You decide to copy and paste the entire article and submit it for your assignment, hoping no one notices.

Don't worry, this isn't a quiz, but do any of these three options sound like your go-to plan when you have a writing assignment due? Perhaps obviously, Option 1 is the way to go, but have you resorted to Option 2 or even Option 3? Don't worry, you don't have to admit it here! You should know, though, that Options 2 and 3 are both forms of plagiarism.

We here at CalPac want you to feel confident about going with Option 1 every time you have an assignment to complete, so we have compiled some resources for you to learn-- through quick and easy videos and samples-- how to avoid resorting to plagiarism and how to cite your sources correctly.

Here we go!

Meet "Timmy the Pirate"

In this video, "Timmy" commits common acts of plagiarism. Are you a "Plagiarism Pirate" like Timmy? Note that this video refers to APA Format. Here at CalPac, we ask that students use MLA Format to write and to cite their sources. CLICK HERE to learn more about this writing style! This video also refers to Turnitin, a service we use here at CalPac.

What is plagiarism?

Follow Plagiarism Panda's journey to discoverying just what plagiarism is and how students often make the mistake of plagiarizing without realizing it. It might be worth a watch if you have any uncertainty about what is considered plagiarism so you can avoid making these mistakes on future assignments.

Here is one more video worth a look-see! Have you heard of "Clone" plagiarism? Or the "404 Error" plagiarizing technique? There are TEN types of plagiarism students commit, often without realizing it. Watch this video to be sure you don't fall into one of these plagiarism pitfalls.

So, what can I call my own?

After watching the videos above, you might be thinking, "So, how do I know what I can call my own and what is considered plagiarized?" How can you tell the difference? This short video should help with that question (mind the spelling errors are those of the creator and not of CalPac).

Ok, I'm on board! How do I avoid plagiarism?

This video shares FIVE ways to avoid it, including writing original ideas, paraphrasing, citing sources, using quotation marks, and asking for help. We at CalPac LOVE helping students, so don't hesitate to use the last option here by contacting your instructors.

The rule of thumb: Be original! Learn from others, but write your ideas in your own words.

Sure, these videos cover the basics, but how do I cite using MLA Format??

Relax, we have you covered! We have compiled the shortest, sweetest, and most fun video clips showing how to cite using MLA Format, 8th Edition. Click the yellow arrow to learn more!

MLA Format 8th Edition