How to Avoid Plagiarism


What is Plagiarism?

Simply put, plagiarism is using someone else’s words or ideas, and passing them off as you own without proper acknowledgment. Plagiarism is a serious offense that has severe consequences to a student’s academic career. Plagiarism can be done intentionally, where you know you are using someone else’s words/ ideas and deciding not to cite; or unintentionally, where you might have forgotten to cite a source or deemed it common knowledge. Regardless if it was intentional or unintentional, the consequences are the same.

The following is a list of situations that will result in a plagiarism charge:

  • turning in someone else’s work as your own
  • copying words or ideas from someone else without proper citation
  • not putting a quote in quotation marks
  • paraphrasing (writing in your own words) an idea from a source and not giving credit

Hanson College Cheating and Plagiarism Policy

First time: Zero on the test or assignment
Second time: Fail a course
Third time: Dismissal from Hanson

Offenses can be a combination of cheating and plagiarism. Offenses are counted across courses, which means that charges accumulate across all semesters.

1. Plagiarism in ENG1002 assignment = 0 in assignment
2. Cheating on PSY1125 test- Fail PSY1125
3. Plagiarism on BUS1200 assignment= Dismissed from Hanson

How to Avoid Plagiarism?

There are 4 main ways to avoid plagiarism:

  • Acknowledge your source
  • Use quotations properly
  • Paraphrase and cite your source
  • Include a reference page

Acknowledge Your Source

A source is any media, published book or article that is available in print or online, this includes textbooks, websites, academic journals, interviews or movies. When you need evidence to back up the topic you are writing about, or information about a certain event or idea, you will need to find sources that support your claim. The sources you find need to be acknowledged, or “cited” in your assignment. Citing a source involves identifying the author, the title of the work, where and when it was published, and sometimes when you accessed the material.  There are different styles of citing sources including APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (Modern Languages Association) and Chicago Style. Each style has a different format for citing sources. At Hanson College, the style you will need to use is APA. If you are unsure how to use APA properly, please refer to the APA Style Guide in the Student Resource Centre.

 Use Quotations Properly

When you are directly using someone else’s words, you will need to use quotation marks or indent the text.

Short quotes should be marked with quotation marks and include the author, the year of publication and the page number.


According to Jones (1998), “Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time” (p. 199).

Longer quotes (40 words or more) will need to be blocked and indented ½ inch from the margin.


Jones‘s (1998) study found the following:

Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time citing sources. This difficulty could be attributed to the fact that many students failed to purchase a style manual or to ask their teacher for help. (p. 199)

Paraphrasing and Citing your Source

Paraphrasing means using your own words to restate the ideas of another person. This is one of the best ways to show you understand the topic you are writing about. Even if you use your own words, you still need to use citations because the idea or concept you are writing about is not yours. When you paraphrase you do not need quotation marks, but you need to include the author and the year.


According to Jones (1998), APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners.

Include a Reference Page

Your assignment or paper will always have in-text citation, as well as a reference page. A reference page is a list of all the sources you used in the document formatted in APA style. Some basic rules, as mentioned on Purdue Owl, for APA reference pages are:

  • All lines after the first line of each entry in your reference list should be indented one-half inch from the left margin. This is called hanging indentation.
  • Authors’ names are inverted (last name first); give the last name and initials for all authors of a particular work for up to and including seven authors.
  • All the sources should alphabetized by the last name of the first author of each work.
  • Present the journal title in full.
  • Maintain the punctuation and capitalization that is used by the journal in its title.
  • Capitalize all major words in journal titles. When referring to the titles of books, chapters, articles, or webpages, capitalize only the first letter of the first word of a title and subtitle, the first word after a colon or a dash in the title, and proper nouns. (Note that the distinction here is based on the type of source being cited. Academic journal titles have all major words capitalized, while other sources’ titles do not.)
  • Italicize titles of longer works such as books and journals.
  • Do not italicize, underline, or put quotes around the titles of shorter works such as journal articles or essays in edited collections.


Purdue Writing Lab. (n.d.). In-Text Citations: The Basics // Purdue Writing Lab. Retrieved from

Purdue Writing Lab. (n.d.). Reference List: Basic Rules // Purdue Writing Lab. Retrieved from

What is Plagiarism? (2017, May 18). Retrieved January 20, 2020, from plagiarism

Additional Resources

  1. Scribbr’s video: What is Plagiarism?
  2. Scribbr’s video: How to Avoid Plagiarism with 3 Simple Tricks
  3. Scribbr’s video: How to Quote in Under 5 Minutes
  4. PrepStep Course: Understand and Avoid Plagiarism