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HIST 420/EAS 395: Chinese Legal History


In an instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer uses someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source. This can be deliberate or unintentional, and it can apply to texts published in print or on-line, to manuscripts, and to the work of other student writers.

  • To avoid plagiarism, you must give credit whenever you use:
    • any facts, statistics, graphs, drawings—any pieces of information—that are not common knowledge
    • quotations of another person’s actual spoken or written words
    • another person’s idea, opinion, or theory
    • paraphrase of another person’s spoken or written
  • You don't need to provide a citation for information in your paper:
    • you are discussing matters of common knowledge, which most people would know without looking up. For example: The name of the current President of the United States.
    • you are writing your own original observations, analysis, or opinions.

Quotation, Paraphrase & Summarize

There are three main ways to use someone else's thoughts or words in your paper: Quotation; Paraphrase; Summarize.

You need to cite the source each time you do any of these.


If you quote another author's words, make sure that you have used them in your paper exactly as they are in the original source. You will need to put quotation marks around that section of your paper. When you quote, you must give credit to the original author in your text and in your bibliography.


When you paraphrase, you rewrite the original author's text in your own words. You need to stay close enough to the original to be sure you do not change the meaning, but you cannot copy it too closely. Paraphrasing is often used to condense a long section of text. When you paraphrase, you must give credit to the original author in your text and in your bibliography.


Summarizing is similar to paraphrasing, in that you re-write a passage in your own words. The difference is that, when you summarize, you focus only on the main points of the original text. A summary will usually be much shorter than the original text. You still need to be careful to use your own words, and you still need to cite the original source.


What NOT to Do

 # 1. Clone

Submitting another's work, word-for-word, as one's own

 #2 CTRL-C

Contains significant portions of text from a single source without alterations

 #3 Find - Replace

Changing key words and phrases by retaining the essential content of the source

 #4 Remix

Paraphrases from multiple sources, made to fit together

 #5 Recycle

Borrows generously from the writer's previous work without citation

 #6 Hybrid

Combines perfectly cited sources with copied passages without citation

 #7 Mashup

Mixes copied material from multiple sources

 #8 404 Error

Includes citations to nonexistent or inaccurate information about sources

 #9 Aggregator

Includes proper citations to sources but the paper includes almost no original work

 #10 Re-tweet

Includes proper citation, but relies too closely on the text's original wording and/or structure. 

This document is compiled from the following freely accessible online sources: CWPA, Indiana University and Montgomery College, North Carolina State University Libraries, &