Academic Writing and Avoiding Plagiarism

Academic research and writing often requires you build upon and analyze the ideas of others, then add your critical analysis, comments, opinions or interpretations to create new knowledge. So, when you use the ideas or words of another person, you must include a citation to properly credit that original work and avoid plagiarizing.

There are a number of styles used to cite information sources. Always use the style manual recommended for your course and follow your professor's instruction(s).

When using ORU databases, look for a citation link. Most ORU database provide citation tools that allow you to copy in the style of your choosing, paste, and then edit, as needed.

Frequently used citation styles at ORU include:

See: Citing Sources library guide or the University's opens new windowPlagiarism site.

What is plagiarism?

When you use another person's ideas, opinion, or words as your own you have committed an act of plagiarism. According to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary, plagiarize is:

"to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own: use (another's production) without crediting the source"

"to commit literary theft: present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source"

The above definitions are direct quotes from Merriam Webster's dictionary.

To avoid plagiarism, direct quotes are placed in quotation marks and documented so the source is credited and the reader is able to find the original source. Use the citation style required for your course or as directed by your professor. (The example below is MLA style.)

"Plagiarize." Dictionary. Merriam-Webster, 2020, opens new

Examples of Plagiarism

Quoting from a source (oral or written) without proper use of quotation marks and/or a citation.

Paraphrasing information from a source (oral or written) without acknowledging the author and their work.
When paraphrasing, you show your understanding of an author's passage by expressing the original intended meaning and opinion(s) in your own word.

Summarizing an author's works or opinions in your paper without documentation.
A summary condenses the author's main points and gives the reader an idea of the source contents without going into detail.

Buying or copying a paper or project from another person and submitting it as your own work.

Downloading or copying a paper, or section thereof, from the Internet and submitting it for class.