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While the library building is closed until further notice, the Library's online services and resources continue to be available to Northwestern students, faculty, and staff.

Please see this Guide to Modified Services for more information.

Avoiding Plagiarism

The importance of avoiding plagiarism in your writing

There are many reasons why students sometimes commit plagiarism in their college work.  Sometimes plagiarism is intentional, sometimes unintentional. 

Sometimes, students lack knowledge about the research and writing process, including the following:

  • How to paraphrase the ideas of others
  • How to cite properly
  • When to cite borrowed information

Sometimes, students to not allow enough time for the research and writing process, and end up taking shortcuts, such as:

  • Re-using a paper from a previous class
  • Cutting-and-pasting text from another source into their paper
  • Purchasing a paper online

Sometimes, students have misconceptions about intellectual property, such as:

  • If it is online, it must be "common knowledge" or "Public Domain" information
  • If it is found in an encyclopedia, I don't need to cite it

Students must be wise and diligent as they undertake the writing process, in order to avoid plagiarism.  It is important to understand both what plagiarism is, and how to avoid it.  The tutorials linked below can assist students in both endeavors.

Plagiarism tutorials

The following are online tutorials designed to help you understand plagiarism and avoid it in your writing.

Plagiarism PowerPoint