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What is Plagiarism?

"Plagiarism, specifically, is a term used to describe a practice that involves knowingly taking and using another person’s work and claiming it, directly or indirectly, as your own." (Neville, 2007, p. 28)

In the United States, plagiarism is taken very seriously, both legally and ethically. It can lead to disciplinary action such as expulsion from the University. Additionally, plagiarizing will damage your reputation and credibility as a scholar in Western academia. Plagiarism can be intentional (purchasing a research paper online or sharing a test with a friend) or unintentional (improperly citing a source in a paper or using an author's words without giving her/him credit). This below list, from, identifies some specific forms of plagiarism:

  • "turning in someone else's work as your own
  • copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
  • failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
  • copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not" (What Is Plagiarism?)

It might seem like using the ideas of others is a problem. However, this is not the case. Scholarship is a conversation; that is, you will be expected to read, analyze, and respond to the ideas of others when writing your papers. The key to doing this without plagiarizing is to cite your sources

How to Avoid Plagiarism?

1. Take good notes

  • While researching, be sure to take note of important quotes and passages that you think you might use in your paper.
  • Note the citation information--the author, title, and page number, so that you can easily cite it in your paper.
  • Develop a system of note-taking that works for you.

2. Paraphrase Content

3. Use Quotations

  • Always use quotes ("text here") when you are copying any information word for word, and include an in-text citation. The quotes symbol and citation indicate that the text has been taken directly from another work. For example, speeches, research publications, newspaper article, or documentary films. 

4. Cite Your Sources

  • Any words or ideas that are not your own must be cited.
  • You must cite yourself if you are referencing your own previous works. Self-plagiarism refers to the use of materials you have previously published without including a citation. 
  • Cite factual claims.

5. Manage Reference Sources

  • Maintain records of the sources you refer to using reference managers, like EndNote.
  • Include citations for all sources referenced to in your paper.

6. Use Plagiarism Checkers

  • CSU Pueblo does not offer subscription based plagiarism checkers.
  • FREE options: EasyBib or Grammarly

7. Contact CSU Pueblo's Writing Center for additional support.


Neville, C. (2007). The complete guide to referencing and avoiding plagiarism. New York; Maidenhead: Open University Press. 

Penn State. (2012). Plagiarism & You. Online document. Retrieved June 10, 2015, from

University of Pittsburgh. (2021). Understanding Academic Integrity, Research, and Classroom Ethics. Retrieved December 22, 2021, from

What Is Plagiarism? (n.d.) Retrieved June 10, 2015, from