Avoiding Plagiarism

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is presenting the words or ideas of someone else as your own without proper acknowledgment of the source. You will often draw on supporting material from the works of others when writing papers or completing other assignments. Your professors will typically expect you to use the ideas of others and quote their work, and to correctly credit this work. Even when you summarize or paraphrase information found in books, articles, or Web pages, you must acknowledge the original author.

These are all examples of plagiarism:

  • Buy or use a paper, or portions of a paper, written by someone else, and represent this as your own work
  • Cut and paste passages from the Web, a book, or an article and insert them into your paper without citing them. Warning! It is now easy for your instructor or others to search and find passages that have been copied from the Web or other sources
  • Use the words or ideas of another person without citing them
  • Paraphrase an author’s words without citing them

Tips for Avoiding Plagiarism:

  • First, develop and use your own ideas – your paper is where you present your own ideas, informed by your reading of the ideas of others.
  • Use the ideas of others sparingly – only to support or reinforce your own argument, or to place your views in a necessary context.
  • When taking notes, include complete citation information for each item you use.
  • Use quotation marks when directly stating another person’s words.
  • Improper paraphrasing is one of the most common forms of plagiarism. Educate yourself about the differences between proper and improper paraphrasing. Not understanding the nuances of paraphrasing is not a credible defense if you are charged with plagiarism because of improper paraphrasing.
  • Misunderstanding the difference is not a credible defense if you are charged with plagiarism because of improper paraphrasing.

Carefully Review This Tutorial:

The Academic Integrity Committee, a committee of the Yale-NUS College faculty, urges all Yale-NUS students to complete the Cornell University Plagiarism Tutorial. Be certain to ask your professors or the staff at the Writer’s Center about anything in the tutorial that is confusing or unclear.


Yale-NUS College Policies on Academic Integrity:

Yale-NUS College expects its students to abide by the highest standards of academic integrity as a matter of personal honesty and communal responsibility. Acting with academic integrity requires that (a) students do their own work, (b) students not interfere with the work of others, (c) students accurately and honestly represent the content of their work, and (d) students properly attribute others’ work.

Violations of the College’s academic integrity standards undermine both the community and the individual growth of students. Accordingly, they will be addressed with the utmost seriousness and sanctions ranging from grade penalties to expulsion. Examples of violations of academic integrity include plagiarism, copying or sharing homework answers, submitting work completed for one course as ‘new’ work for another course, or fabricating or falsifying research data.

Professors are obligated to refer suspected lapses in academic integrity to the College’s Committee on Integrity and Discipline (CID), which follows a set of policies and procedures approved by the faculty when investigating and adjudicating cases. To learn more about these policies and expectations, visit the Student Life – Academic Integrity website. 

Writing Resources:

The Yale-NUS College Library provides access to books and resources to help you with questions or issues about writing, citing and academic integrity. Visit the Yale-NUS College Library to explore our growing collection of writing guides and citation style manuals. Please see the writing subject guide for helpful titles: Academic Writing.

Writing Help, Guidance, and Support:

The Writers’ Centre also provides a collection of online resources to help with writing.

Visit the Writers’ Centre! The Writers’ Centre can assist you with your writing in various ways – including through Academic Writing Workshops and Writing Consultations.


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Starting Your Research by University of California Santa Cruz, University Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Some content has been modified to suit the curricular and research needs of Yale-NUS College. All changes are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.