Avoiding Plagiarism

Learning the ins-and-outs of properly citing sources can be confusing, but is extremely important in protecting you from plagiarism. While there isn’t usually a formalized lesson on writing academically and citing your sources, this will be expected starting with your first-year writing courses. Check out the tips and tricks below for working your way through properly sourcing references, and make sure you always reach out to professors, TAs or the writing center if you have questions!

  • Explore the ASU Library’s citation styles guide for help formatting citations and reach out directly to the Subject Guide librarian with questions.
  • The Purdue Owl Online Writing Lab is commonly used for help with American Psychological Association (APA) and Modern Language Association (MLA) citation and format styles. You’ll find loads of categories and examples based on the type of reference and citation.
  • When a professor asks for “original thought”, provide it! Sure, you can support your ideas with the work of others (as long as you're citing it), but make sure the bulk of your response is coming for your reactions, ideas, feelings and thoughts around the subject material.
  • Understand paraphrasing vs. quoting. Paraphrasing is putting source material into your own words, quoting is using someone else’s direct words/phrase. Knowing the difference is important, as they will require different citations.
  • Know that ASU uses Safeassign, a plagiarism checking tool on Blackboard.
  • Utilize the Writing Centers. Whether you’re a first-time freshman who has never used citations, or a graduate student with plenty of experience, having a writing center expect review your work is never a bad idea. Schedule an appointment with a specialist and walk through your paper (no matter what stage it is in) to gain feedback and suggestions.

Take advantage of these resources and you’ll be an expert in citing sources, using APA or MLA, and writing plagiarism free papers in no time. Plagiarizing can get you in a lot of trouble, but it is easy to avoid.

Learn more about ASU’s Academic Integrity Policy.

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