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MLA & APA help

Learn how to format papers, cite information sources using MLA and APA style, and how to avoid plagiarism.

Define plagiarism

Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s work as your own.

Plagiarism isn’t always deliberate - the majority of students who plagiarize do so accidentally! It can happen by accident if you improperly acknowledge the source from which you take an idea.

Plagiarism takes many forms. Examples include:

  • not citing where you got information;
  • using someone else's words without proper quotation marks and citation;
  • paraphrasing someone's article without giving them credit;
  • flat out copying and pasting text from somewhere else into your assignment. This could be text from the description, from the abstract, from the article itself, or from the author's biography

Plagiarism is taken very seriously by CCC and your instructors. While plagiarism isn’t against the law, it is a form of academic dishonesty and will result in disciplinary action. You may not go to jail, but you may not pass your class, either. The consequences of plagiarism range from failing an assignment, to failing a class, or even, in extreme cases, being asked to leave CCC entirely (learn more in the CCC Student Handbook). Don't freak out though - the issue is serious, but it is also something you can learn to avoid. We are all here to learn - if you make a mistake and plagiarize, we expect you to learn from it and not do it again. Know better to do better! :-)

Summarize, paraphrase, and quote

Learn how to avoid plagiarism by correctly summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting sources.

Avoid plagiarism by joining the scholarly conversation

Note: CCC Library has retired the "Joining the Scholarly Conversation" interactive tutorial due to outdated citation information. To see information on citations, visit CCC Library's Citation Guide. Need help? Visit CCC Library's Get Help Guide.

Check out Preventing Plagiarism, an interactive tutorial by University of San Diego library, instead!

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