Anti-Plagiarism Initiative


The following plagiarism guidelines should be reviewed with all of your classes. Some time should be spent showing students how to footnote, use quotations, cite indirect quotes, and use bibliographies. All students need to understand that they will not get credit for reports that are plagiarized from any source.

These guidelines have been recommended by the English Department at Purdue University.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of somebody else’s idea or words. In most schools, especially colleges and universities, students must be familiar with the school’s dishonesty policy, as plagiarism may have serious consequences, including expulsion from school.

What actions might be seen as plagiarism?

  • Buying, stealing, or borrowing a paper
  • Using the source too closely
  • Hiring someone to write your paper
  • Copying from a source without citing
  • Building on someone’s ideas without citing

When do you need to document or give credit?

  • When you are using or referring to somebody else’s words or ideas from a magazine, book, newspaper, song, TV program, movie, Web page, computer program, letter, advertisement, or any other medium
  • When you use information through an interview
  • When you copy the exact words, or a “unique phrase” from somewhere
  • When you reprint diagrams, charts, illustration or pictures

When is there no need to document?

  • When you are writing your own experiences, your own observations, your own insights, your own thoughts, your own conclusion about a subject
  • When you use “common knowledge” such as folklore, common sense observations, shred information
  • When you are compiling generally accepted facts (birth of a president, etc.)
  • When you are writing up your own experimental results

What is “Common Knowledge”?

  • You find the same information undocumented in at least five other sources
  • You think it is information that your readers will already know
  • You think a person could easily find the information with general reference

The following is a chart that Purdue University put together for their students to help them make sure they are safe when they take notes and write a report:

During the writing process

What it looks like on your finished paper

When researching, note-taking, and interviewing

  • Mark everything that is someone else’s words with a big Q (for Quote) or with big quotation marks.
  • Indicate in your notes which ideas are taken from sources (S) and which are your own insights (ME)
  • Record all documentation in your notes

Proofread and check notes to make sure that anything taken from your notes is acknowledged in some combination of the ways below:

  • In-text citation
  • Footnotes
  • Bibliography
  • Quotation marks
  • Indirect quotations

When paraphrasing and summarizing

  • First, read you text, and then write your paraphrase or summary without looking at the original text, so you rely only on your memory
  • Next, check your version with the original for content, accuracy, and mistakenly borrowed phrases
  • Begin your summary by giving credit to the source: According to Walter Dean Myers…
  • Put any unique words or phrases that you cannot change, or do not want to change, in quotation marks:…”savage inequalities” exist throughout our educational system (Kozol)

When quoting directly

  • Keep the person’s name near the quote in your notes and in your paper
  • Select direct quotes that make the most impact in your paper. Don’t use too many direct quotes
  • Mention the person’s name either at the beginning of the quote, in the middle, or at the end
  • Put quotation marks around the text that you are quoting
  • Indicate added phrase in backets ( ) and omitted text with ellipses (…)

When quoting indirectly

  • Keep the person’s name near the text in your notes, and in your paper
  • Rewrite the key ideas using different words and sentence structure than the original text
  • Mention the person’s name either at the beginning of the information, or in the middle, or at the end
  • Double check to make sure that your words and sentence structures are different than the original text

How do I reference a source?



Author(s), Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication.


Henley, Patricia. The Hummingbird House, Denver: MacMurray, 1999.

Book with more than one author:

Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Lerner. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring, Boston: Allyn, 2000.

Article From Reference Book


Author. “Title of Article.” Book Title. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year. Pages used (Simply omit any information that is not available)


King, Martin Luther. “I Have a Dream.” Speeches: The Collected Wisdom of Martin Luther King. Washington: King Press, 1971. 10 – 11

Article in a General Encyclopedia


“Title of Article.” Title of Encyclopedia. Year of Publication. Pages Used.


“Mandarin.” The Encylopedia Americana. 1994.200.

Book or Reference Material With An Editor


Last name, First name, ed. “Title of Article.” Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year.


Van Creveld, Martin, ed. “Adolph Hitler.” The Encyclopedia of Revolutions and Revolutionaries. New York: Facts on File, 1996.

Book by a Corporate Author/Organization


Corporate Author, Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year.


National Research Council. Beyond Six Billion: Forecasting the World’s Population. Washington: National Academy, 2000.

Magazine and Newspaper Articles


Author(s). “Title of Article.” Title of Source. Day Month Year: pages


Poniewozik, James. “TV Makes a Too-Close Call.” Time 20 Nov. 2000: 70-71



Author(s). Name of Pages. Date of Posting/Revision. Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site. Date of Access <electronic address>. (Omit any information that is not available)


Felluga, Dino. Undergraduate Guide to Literary Theory. 17 Dec. 1999. Purdue University. 15 Nov.2000 <>.

  • It is necessary to list your data of access because web postings are often updated, and information available at one date may no longer be available later. Be sure to include the complete address for the site. Also, note the use of angled brackets around the electronic address; MLA requires them for clarity.

Magazine and Newspaper Article Accessed Online


Author. “Article Title.” Periodical. Date of Access <URL address>


“Customer’s Attempt to Complain to Manager Thwarted by Employee.” The Onion14 Feb 2001 <http://the>

An Article or Publication from an Online Database


Author. “Title of Article” Publication Name Volume Number (if necessary) Publication Date: page number-page number. Database name. Service name. Library Name, City, State. Date of access <electronic address of the database>

An Online Image


Artist if available.”Description or title of image.” Date of image. Online image. Title of larger site. Date of download. <electronic address>


Smith, Greg. “Rheses Monkeys in the Zoo.” No date. Online image. Monkey Picture Gallery 3 May 2003.



Title of Film, Name of Director. Lead Roles. Production Company, Year


The Ususal Suspects. Dir. Bryan Singer. Perf. Kevin Spacey, Gabrial Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, Stephen Baldwin, and Benecio del Toro. Polygram, 1995

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