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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Citing Sources

An Undergraduate Library guide providing information and suggested resources for citing sources.

What Is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is using the words or ideas of another as if they were your own. It can be an intentional or unintentional act, but either way there can be severe consequences. The information below will help you understand and avoid plagiarism.

If you have additional questions about plagiarism, contact your class instructor, the Writers Workshop, or Ask a Librarian.

How Do You Know If You Are Plagiarizing?

The following are all examples of plagiarism:

  • Copying the words of others, whether from a source or another student.
  • Putting your name on a paper written by someone else.
  • Purchasing or downloading a paper from the Internet and turning it in.
  • Paraphrasing (rewriting in your own words) a source and not documenting it.
  • Not using quotations marks properly when using material from another source.

More specific guidelines and information to help you recognize and avoid plagiarism are available on the following pages:

How to Avoid Plagiarism

Often one of the most difficult aspects of writing a paper is knowing how to properly integrate your sources into your paper. Many cases of plagiarism are unintentional and happen because the writer is unaware of how to properly incorporate and cite sources in the text of a paper. The following steps can help you make certain you have all the information you need to compile proper citations.

  • Make sure you have the complete citations for all your sources.
  • Include both the URL and dated visited for Internet resources cited.
  • Keep careful records of your research. Note where in your paper you are using a particular resource.
  • Know what citation format your instructor wants you to use before you get started. For example: MLA, APA, or Chicago. See the other pages on this guide for more information about each citation style.

University of Illinois Stance on Plagarism

Article 1, Section 4(d) of the student code specifically addresses what constitutes plagiarism. See: 
http://admin.illinois.edu/policy/code/article1_part4_1-402.html

Specific penalties for academic integrity infractions are included in Part 4 - Section 1- 403. See: 
http://admin.illinois.edu/policy/code/article1_part4_1-403.html

Plagiarism: The Facts (INFOGRAPHIC)

Plagiarism (VIDEO)