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Information Evaluation: Plagiarism

Information and tools for evaluating information for your information need; learning how to identify facts, opinions, and bias in information resources; learning what plagiarism is and how to avoid it!

Types of Plagiarism


Students wishing to lessen their work load or finish an assignment more quickly might purchase an essay online, borrow a classmate's paper and change a few words, or copy passages directly from textbooks, websites, or scholarly articles.

  • Students who purposefully plagiarize violate the university's Code of Conduct and can face disciplinary measures.
  • Students who plagiarize may be suspended, failed from the course to which they submitted the work, or even expelled from the university.
  • Students who plagiarize are not learning. Professors aren't getting a clear image of where their students are in the learning process in order to see where their students need further instruction and help.
  • The individuals being plagiarized are not getting credit for the work and time they put into creating the resource being copied.


Plagiarism can occur accidentally as well, due to being ignorant of proper methods of citation and attribution (giving credit to the individual/entity that created the resource).


Copyright law is the law that protects intellectual property. To plagiarize is to violate the copyright protections placed on a work or idea. For more information about copyright, see links below:

When Do I Cite?

Always cite your sources when you:

  • quote two or more words verbatim, or even one word if it is used in a way that is unique to the source. 
  • introduce facts that you have found in a source. 
  • paraphrase or summarize ideas, interpretations, or conclusions that you find in a source.
  • introduce information that is not common knowledge or that may be considered common knowledge in your field, but the reader may not know it.
  • borrow the plan or structure of a larger section of a source’s argument (for example, using a theory from a source and analyzing the same three case studies that the source uses). 
  • build on another’s method found either in a source or from collaborative work in a lab. 
  • you build on another’s program in writing computer code or on a not-commonly-known algorithm. 
  • collaborate with others in producing knowledge. 

Quoting and Paraphrasing

Part of creating academic papers and presentations is using the words of credible sources to support your own thinking. You're basically saying "Based on my reasoning and research, X thing is true. Don't believe me? Drs X, Y, and Z agree! Here's what they have to say:...."

You have two main choices when including the thoughts of your references in your work: a direct quotation, or a paraphrase of that quote. The references whose words and thoughts you include in your work will be the resources you cite on your Works Cited (MLA), References (APA), or Bibliograpy (Chicago). 

A direct quote is best when:

  • You plan on analyzing the exact words/meaning used by the resource
  • The quote you wish to include is not too long (fewer than three lines of text)
  • You can't say it better/more clearly than the original source, or to try would be to change the meaning of the quote
  • The quote is short enough you can work it into one of your own sentences 


A paraphrase is best when:

  • Translating the quote into your own words doesn't change the point/meaning of what your source said
  • The passage you'd like to quote is too long (longer than three lines of text)
  • You don't want to interrupt the flow of your argument with a direct quote
  • You simply want to summarize the point of what your source is saying and their exact wording isn't critical to the meaning



No Citation Required???

When DON'T you need to cite?

  • When using common knowledge/observable facts about our world ( the sun is hot, Babe Ruth is a famous baseball player, kale is rich in iron, etc)
  • When speaking from your own lived experiences, and expressing your own original thoughts ( this includes your thoughts/analyses about sources you HAVE cited)


Academic Dishonesty at UC


Academic Dishonesty at Utica University: 

If the words, images or ideas are not yours, they're someone else's. Make sure to give credit to your sources. It's the ethical thing to do, and gives exposure to your sources so they can be found by more researchers.   


Furthermore, any kind of 'academic dishonesty' discovered at Utica University is dealt with promptly and seriously. See below link for more details on the disciplinary process related to academic dishonesty.

- Utica University Student Handbook