Avoiding Plagiarism: Getting Started

A guide to properly giving credit for borrowed information and ideas.
Recommended Reading
What is Plagiarism?

According to the Mary Baldwin College Honor Code, plagiarism is "the use of someone else's idea of work without acknowleding the source of the idea of work." Many times plagiarism occurs unintentionally, and happens when quotation marks are left out by accident, words are copied and pasted carelessly, or citations aren't formatted in the proper manner. The goal of this guide is to orient you to the world of attribution so you know when, where, and how to cite all of your sources.

Sources need to be cited in the following instances:

  • Quotations- when you copy the exact words
  • Paraphrases
  • Summaries
  • Using someone else's ideas
  • Numbers, statistics
  • Visual materials (images, video, charts, graphs)
  • Internet materials, even if there's no author

Sources which don't need to be cited:

  • Your own ideas, observations, research, artwork, etc.
  • Common knowledge (such as "do your homework"). These are facts which are generally considered true. If you can find the fact undocumented in more than 5 sources, it is most likely common knowledge.

When in doubt, cite!

MBC Writing Center

Through face-to-face sessions (in Academic 408) and in online sessions, the writing center helps students with all stages of the writing process:

  • narrowing a topic
  • generating ideas
  • organizing an essay
  • crafting a thesis
  • writing an initial essay
  • revising a draft
  • editing a final draft

Email: writingcenter@mbc.edu

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