Plagiarism FAQs

by The Writing Center Staff


Q: How often does plagiarism occur per paper?

This is hard to answer definitively. It depends on the paper. Using can help give you a sense of how you’re using source material in your own writing.

Q: What are the different types of plagiarism?

 There are many different forms of plagiarism – both accidental and intentional. It’s important you are familiar all of them so that you can better avoid plagiarizing in your writing. We’ve created a handout listing all of the definitions of plagiarism here.

Q: Is plagiarism a big problem at the mount?

We can tell you how often Mount students have been charged with plagiarism. The stats are in this video.

Q: What’s so bad about plagiarism?

Plagiarism is taking somebody else’s words and claiming them as your own. It’s stealing.

Q: What is the most common form of plagiarism?

   Incorrect citation and use of quotation marks.

Q: Who discovered plagiarism?

Literary theft and theft of intellectual property have always been around. However, the term plagiarism seems to have entered the English language after it was defined by the Oxford English Dictionary in 1598 under the word “plagiary.”  You can find out more about the history of plagiarism here.


Preventing Plagiarism

Q: How can I be sure I am not plagiarizing?

Be intentional about how you’re using your source material. Ask questions when you’re unsure.

Q: How can you correct plagiarism?

By correctly citing your work, you can prevent plagiarizing in your paper. Remember, however, that the citations must be correct and appear at the appropriate places in your paper.

Q: What’s the best online site to check you correctly did citation?

Online sites are not always credible. Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy way to check using this kind of technology. Instead, you have to educate yourself on the appropriate use of sources. The Owl at Purdue is a great source for finding MLA help. The APA Publication Manual 6th ed. is the official source for citing in APA.

Q: What websites can you use to prevent plagiarism?

The best way to prevent plagiarism is to correctly cite your sources. In order to determine if a paper you have written contains plagiarized material, you can submit the paper through The Writing Center has its own class on Turnitin where you can upload your paper and read the similarity report. For more information, visit our “Resources for Writers” tab on the Writing Center’s portal page.

Q: What is the best way to avoid plagiarism?

The best way to avoid plagiarism is to make sure you cite any outside material. Citations are needed for direct quotations or information that is not common knowledge.

Q: Is summarizing considered plagiarism if you cite a reference?

If you summarize a section from a source and correctly cite it, then it is not considered plagiarism. However, if the citation is not correct or incorrectly placed, the material will appear as if it were plagiarized.

Q:Is it plagiarism when you quote or perform a song by an artist and don’t give them credit?

Yes. Here’s how to cite music in APA. Here’s now to cite it in MLA. If you are performing a song that is not your own, make sure you tell your audience the title of the song and musician’s name before you begin.

Q: If you paraphrase, do you still need to cite your sources?

Yes, citing your sources is necessary even when paraphrasing. Although you are changing the structure of the sentences and the order the information is presented, the ideas are not your own.


Q: When paraphrasing information in an entire paragraph, how to you cite it?

 We checked the APAStyle Blog for this question. There is a fine line between confusing your readers into thinking only the last sentence in your paragraph is cited and sounding redundant for citing the same source after each sentence. Tim from APAStyle blog suggests the following:

Timothy McAdoo said in reply…

Hi. It’s best to follow your instructor’s guidelines, as he or she will be grading you! The idea is to ensure that every concept or idea you’re paraphrasing is properly attributed. With that said, w[h]en writing a paragraph, you can alternate between citing an author parenthetically and using the author’s name in the running text. The people who replied above have good rewrites of the example paragraph that properly cite the author multiple times without feeling redundant.

You might also find this post helpful:


Q: When is it okay to use the author’s exact words?

Any time you are using someone else’s words, you have to be sure that they are properly between quotation marks. Use direct quotes when you feel that the original author’s words show authority, their words have a strong impact, or if you are unable to accurately paraphrase (University of Houston-Victoria). Remember that any time you quote someone else, their words must be in quotation marks and then cited; even if it is only one word.

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