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Plagiarism and How to Avoid It

Guide on plagiarism and how to avoid it.

Tips to Avoid Plagiarism

Take Good Notes


  • Take careful notes so that you can distinguish your words from someone else's.
  • Jot down the page number and author or title of the source each time you make a note.
  • Maintain a working bibliography while you research


  • Expect to remember days later where you found a piece of information.
  • Wait until the last minute to start researching your paper. 
  • Carelessly copy and paste from online resources.

Cite your Sources


  • Cite the source of your information whether you paraphrase or quote directly (unless it's considered common knowledge).
  • Cite ideas given to you in a conversation or correspondence.
  • Become familiar with the citation style you must use for your paper.
  • Acknowledge your sources in all your academic work, including oral presentations, computer programs, and research posters.
  • Err on the side of caution—cite whenever in doubt.


  • Falsify any part of a citation.
  • Submit someone else's work as your own. 

Paraphrase Correctly


  • Restate someone else's ideas in your own words.
  • Give credit to the author


  • Merely rearrange or substitute words in someone else's text.
  • Forget to credit the source.

Use Quotes


  • Use quotation marks around an exact phrase or sentence.
  • Choose to quote an author's exact words when the phrasing is unique or strengthens your argument. 


  • Rely too much on quoting other's work; make your own ideas the focus of your paper.

Citation Generators in Library Databases

Many of the library databases, including EBSCOHost and ProQuest, offer citation generators.

  • When working with your search results, look for links such as "cite this" in the document view in ProQuest or the "cite this article" icon in EBSCO.
  • Be sure to proofread the citation (they are not always correct!).

Free Online Citation Generators

These free and simple online citation building tools builds citations in APA, MLA, and Chicago/Turabian styles.

Citation Management Tools

Citation management software helps you take notes, organize research, import citations from electronic databases and catalogs, format reference lists in standard styles (MLA, APA etc.); insert footnotes and endnotes directly into your papers.

  • Zotero Bib Create one citation at a time. 
  • Zotero A free online citation management tool.
  • RefWorks Web-based program, licensed to everyone in the NYU community.
  • EndNote Licensed to everyone in the NYU community.

How Do I Choose Between RefWorks, EndNote, and Zotero?

Come to a Library Workshop or view this comparison chart.