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Resources about why plagiarism matters and how to avoid it.

UTM Plagiarism Tutorial

More Plagiarism Tutorials

These tutorials, designed by other libraries and universities, are great interactive ways to learn about various elements of plagiarism. Each of these tutorials will take you about 10-15 minutes.

Notice that each of these tutorial is cited with the institution where I found it. Because this Research Guide is less formal than your research papers, I just gave a quick note about who wrote it. If I wrote a research paper about plagiarism, I would want to cite any tutorials I used with the author, institution, date, and title of the tutorial. 

What is Plagiarism?

Broadly speaking, plagiarism refers to passing off others' ideas as your own. This can include purposeful and nefarious acts:

  • Purchasing an essay on the internet
  • Having a friend write an essay for you
  • Copying and pasting huge chunks of resources

But usually, plagiarism is a little more nuanced than that. Often, students don't know what truly constitutes plagiarism. This Research Guide is here to help you understand some of the more tricky elements of plagiarism.

  • Citing incorrectly
    • Not using quotation marks for a direct quotation
    • Paraphrasing but keeping the sentence almost exactly the same
    • Switching between citation styles
  • Reusing your own work without proper citation (yes, you have to cite yourself!)
  • Forgetting to provide citations for things like images, graphs, or video clips

Many, many students have some anxiety about plagiarism. You are not alone. You want to do your best work and present yourself as an honest, hard-working, upstanding scholar. That's great!

Some things to keep in mind as you begin navigating plagiarism in an academic context:

  • When in doubt, ask! The Writing Center, the librarians, and your professor are all great places to ask if you are unsure about what plagiarism is, why it's important, and how you avoid it. 
  • Just like other parts of research, citing appropriately and avoiding plagiarism is a skill. This means that it will get easier the more you practice.


You may have negative connotations about citation and plagiarism in your head. That's okay! However, there are many positive outcomes for citing appropriately and working to avoid plagiarism.

  • Helps anyone reading a paper see the resources you used and how they all fit together as a scholarly conversation
  • Gives credit to the original author
  • Shows that you can synthesize the ideas of many different people and opinions
  • Marks you as an ethical learner
  • Demonstrates that you are careful, thoughtful, and can think critically