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Multimodal Composition

Resources, tools, and tips for creating multimodal composition or project.

MLA Citation Style Manual

Avoiding Plagiarism

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is using someone else's work without giving him or her credit, leading your readers to think those words are yours. While this might seem easy to avoid, many people who plagiarize do so unintentionally. Although most people think of plagiarism as recording someone's exact words without crediting him or her, it also includes re-arranging someone else's words (paraphrasing) or using his or her ideas. These forms of plagiarism are far more common and require careful attention to avoid.

Why Should I Cite?

According the Arizona State University LibGuide on Citation and Plagiarism, there are four main reasons to cite:

  1. To acknowledge the author(s) of the work you are using in your paper.
  2. To demonstrate that the sources for your paper are of good quality and that the paper is well-researched.
  3. To allow readers to follow up on ideas mentioned briefly in your paper by finding the sources of the ideas and reading further.
  4. To give readers a context for your work and to provide links to others who have researched about the topic so readers can explore what else has been said about it.

The main reason not to plagiarize is because doing so is unfairly attributing ideas of someone else to yourself, whether or not you intend to.

If you’re unsure whether or not to cite something, ask your professor or a librarian for help. Remember, it’s better to overcite than undercite!

Online Citation Resources