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Hints and resources for students and faculty on how to detect and avoid plagiarism.
Last Updated: Jul 6, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Citations Libguide

You can find more resources for avoiding plagiarism by checking out the VGCC Library Citations Libguide.

by Katie Jelen - Last Updated Mar 2, 2017
394 views this year


Things You DON'T Need to Cite...
Your own opinions/ideas:
"It is a mistake to overlook smaller, lower profile markets because..."

Common knowledge: What IS common knowledge anyway? Common knowledge refers to facts that most people are aware of, for example: 
The sun rises in the east and sets in the West.
Thirteen colonies formed the United States.
John Lennon was assassinated.

However, if you use someone else's words to describe something that is common knowledge, you must quote and cite the passage.


General Tips..
Keep track of your sources
Start saving your sources as you find them. Save them to a citation management tool, email them to yourself, or print them out.
Take good notes
Keep track of page numbers and mark the sections you are using. Keep a research log; copy the wording, punctuation, and spelling exactly as it appears in the original text.
Ask your instructor
Always ask if you are unsure of when to cite.
Don't procrastinate
Unintentional plagiarism is often the result of disorganization. Stay organized and don't wait until the last minute.

What happens when you plagiarize?

Plagiarism is taken very seriously in schools, business, government, and all of the places people learn and work. Whether intentional or unintentional, plagiarism can have long-term and damaging effects on a person's education and career.

At VGCC, if you plagiarize, you can fail an assignment or course, be suspended, or even be expelled. See the "VGCC Plagiarism Policy" page in this guide to find out more about VGCC's procedures for dealing with plagiarism.

At work, plagiarism can get you reprimanded or fired.

Discovery of past incidents of plagiarism have forced politicians out of elections, journalists to lose their jobs, authors to lose publishing contracts, and graduates to have their degrees revoked.

Technology has only made it easier to detect plagiarism. There are many tools available to scan for plagiarism, but even a simple Google search can catch many instances. The easiest way to avoiding getting caught plagiarizing is to not do it in the first place!


Special Thanks

Portions of this guide were originally published in the "Avoid Plagiarism" Library Research Guide from Kreitzberg Library at Norwich University and are used with permission.

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Quoting, Summarizing, Paraphrasing

Don't Get Busted! Avoid disaster with these helpful websites.   

According to, re-tweeting without giving the original source is the 10th  most common type of plagiarism.

Citation Builders

  • Bibme
    BibMe creates citations in MLA, APA, Chicago/Turabian formatting. It can find citation information with an ISBN or article title.
  • Citation Machine
    Click the citation format you need and then the type of resource you wish to cite. Supports APA, MLA, and Chicago/Turabian styles. Provides references and in-text citations.
  • NC State Citation Builder
    Citation Builder creates citations for you in APA and MLA styles, using web forms. The Citation Builder is maintained by NC State University.
  • UNC Citation Builder
    The Citation Builder illustrates how to cite some common resources in the APA, MLA, CBE/CSE, and Chicago citation styles. The Citation Builder is provided by the University of North Carolina
  • Calvin College KnightCite
    KnightCite is a citation builder provided by Calvin College. It has citation information for many different types of references, including print, online, multimedia, anthologies, etc.

Citation Apps

  • Quick Cite
    This is a phone app that can be purchased from Itunes for $.99. The app can find citation information by scanning a book's ISBN.
  • My MLA
    This phone app can be purchased from the Itunes store for $2.99. It is only for MLA formatting.
  • EasyBib
    This is a free citation app that can be downloaded through Itunes.

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