A Simple Guide to Avoiding Plagiarism


A conversation between a kid and his teacher about copying

The Oxford English Dictionary defines plagiarism as “the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own.” To put it in simple terms, plagiarism is intellectual cheating. It is so easy to plagiarize and most people don’t even know they do it! At IU, though, it is a very serious crime with major consequences (see here) since it goes against the Student Code of Conduct. Not to worry, though, here are a couple ways to avoid plagiarism!

  1. Use WTS! 

Writing Tutorial Services (WTS) is an Indiana University organization of tutors located on the first floor of the Herman B. Wells Library. They help students with brainstorming, formatting, and revising papers all the time! They can spot plagiarism and also help improve your paper. They also are located at Academic Support Centers (ASCs) at Teter, Forest, and Briscoe for FREE 25-min or 50-min sessions! To make sure you will be matched with a tutor that knows your class assignment the best, you will need to set up appointments with them at their website here.

  1. Cite your sources! 

A cartoon character looks annoyed and exhausted

Yeah, yeah, I know…citing sources. It’s that one thing every single one of your English teachers have told you to do…and yet, it can be SO easy to forget! Just keep a Word document open and paste the links of sites you have visited to get information for your paper! Then, go back and make a works cited page! It’s that easy!

  1. Use a Guide! 

Flow chart on plagiarism

I had no idea IU had a webpage and tutorials dedicated to how to recognize plagiarism, but they do! They have lots of examples comparing plagiarized versions of paragraphs to not plagiarized versions so I can see the differences between the two. They even have a neat decision diagram (seen above) so it’s easy to figure out if you are unintentionally plagiarizing! Go here to learn more!

And last, but not least…go to your teaching assistants in your classes for help! Email them or go to their office hours if you ever feel uncertain!

Aish Thamba
Aish Thamba

Hello! My name is Aish and I am a current junior majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry and Psychology. I love all sorts of music and reading books. I am interested in theater and traveling the world. I love to take interesting photos so you will probably see me on campus with a camera on me at all times!

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