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Citing and Avoiding Plagiarism


"I don't have to cite this because it's in the public domain."

"If I found it on the Internet, it's in the public domain."

"This info is all over the Web. I can't even tell where it came from originally, so I don't have to cite it."

"I paraphrased the info, so I don't have to cite it. You just have to cite quotations."

All of the above are wrong, wrong...WRONG! Not only that, these common misconceptions can get you into a lot of trouble.

A common rule of thumb when you're writing a research paper: if you read, saw, or heard the information ANYWHERE, you need to cite your source. Unless it is strictly your opinion or your original idea ABOUT the information, you need to cite it.

So...even if you're referring to a bit of information that's on a thousand websites today, you should let your readers know which website you read it on. (Cite it!)

But Honestly Monica...

"But honestly Monica, the web is considered 'public domain' and you should be happy we just didn't 'lift' your whole article and put someone else's name on it! It happens a lot, clearly more than you are aware of, especially on college campuses, and the workplace." (Judith D. Griggs)

Click here to read the full account of the magazine editor who wrote this amazing response to a writer whose work she had copied and pasted from the Internet...and how it ultimately caused the magazine to go under!

Avoiding Plagiarism

Plagiarism Tutorial from Acadia University Library

When do I have to cite? -- Guide from Middle Georgia State's Student Success Center.

Proper Paraphrasing -- Guide from Middle Georgia State's Student Success Center

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