Plagiarism is taking credit for someone else's words or ideas,
intentionally or unintentionally.
This is not as simple as it sounds.
Some of these things could happen unintentionally if you don't completely understand the concept of plagiarism, or if you are simply careless. This is no excuse!
It is your responsibility to know exactly what constitutes plagiarism.
Is this my own idea?
Or have I simply reworded someone else's ideas,
Don't forget, paraphrased passages need to be cited.
Are these all my own original words?
Or am I using a distinctive term or phrase coined by
Distinctive words and phrases that are not original
Is this a direct quote?
Or has this been paraphrased and put into my own
If you are using the exact words from your source,
Your reference should provide a path that will lead the reader to your source. Your reference should be complete enough that the reader (your instructor) can easily find the source that you used. Keep in mind that your instructor may want to check the accuracy of your information.
Therefore, the reference needs to contain all the basic information about the source. There are rules about how to arrange this information in your reference so that it is consistent. However, there is more than one style of reference. The most common styles are
APA (American Psychological Association) and MLA (Modern Language Association). Make sure you know which one your instructor wants you to use.
APA Publication Manual
References can be complicated. There are so many different types of sources, especially with the proliferation of electronic sources. How can you ever be sure you have cited your sources properly?
Fortunately, the Bellevue University Library has several tools to help you cite.
There are also many credible websites you can consult. Here are a few: