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Avoiding Academic Integrity Violations

Conestoga College provides many resources to help students more effectively learn the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to be successful in their program and future career. 

General Tips for Protecting your Academic Integrity

  • Keep all your rough drafts of your assignments and projects (i.e., paper, lab reports, solutions).
  • Always submit your own work. Do not let others or pay others to do it for you.
  • Ask your faculty or lab instructors early to confirm if collaboration is permitted and how much collaboration is allowed. Provide examples to clarify if needed. 
  • Protect your work when completing exams, quizzes, or tests (in-person or online).
  • Check with your faculty or lab instructors to see if you are allowed to submit assignments or projects prior to the deadline. You will need permission from your prior instructor and current instructor. 
  • Do not share your login credentials with any 3rd party to complete course work on your behalf. This can comprise the security of the Conestoga network. 

Collaboration and Group Work


Independent Work and Sharing Course Materials

Writing and Acknowledging Sources

You integrate sources into your assignment by either quoting or paraphrasing.
  • Quoting is using the exact words from the source in your paper.
  • Paraphrasing means using your own words to communicate the idea from the source.
You acknowledge sources by citing them every time you quote or paraphrase them.
  • You cite a source in the text of your assignment by including the author's name, the publication year, and the page or paragraph number. 
You reference the sources you cite by providing details about them in a reference list.
  • Your reference list provides the full details of each source you use in your assignment.
Understand Similarity Scores and how to use them to ensure you've cited appropriately and not plagiarized.


Turnitin Similarity Score is just a percentage of material in the paper that matches sources in the Turnitin databases. Text quoted and cited may appear as a match in the Similarity Report if quotes have not been excluded from the report; this offers a great opportunity to check for proper citation. Review our infographic to learn how to interpret your Similarity Report.

How to use Turnitin Percentage Range as a Tool to Check your Work?

As a reminder, no specific Similarity Score demonstrates if your assignment is plagiarized. However, you can use your similarity score to edit your assignment.

  • Blue (No text matching): Your paper is likely all original writing. This may be good, but are your ideas and words supported sufficiently with research?
  • Green (1% to 24%): This may be ideal if your ideas and sources are integrated well. For all ideas, words and images from other sources, cite and reference properly.
  • Yellow (25% to 49%): If there is no plagiarism, your assignment would strongly benefit from more paraphrasing and analysis of your research. You may want to focus on including more of your own thoughts and ideas.
  • Orange (50% to 74%): This is not ideal. Whether or not your assignment is plagiarised, you need to revise your assignment significantly.
  • Red (75% to 100%): Make sure your assignment is not matching up with an earlier version of the same paper or is submitted to the wrong dropbox. Check to see if the sources are from just one or two sources and ensure they are cited and referenced properly. When the similarity score is high, it may demonstrate that there is little originality or your own ideas. (HPU Libraries, 2022)

How to Avoid Plagiarism?

  • Use your own words and paraphrase where you can.
  • If you copy information from another source, it must be properly cited and referenced using APA @ Conestoga formatting. See Conestoga's APA Website for guidance.
  • Do not copy information and change every other word (i.e. do not use software that changes words for you). It is better to copy the entire sentence or paragraph in quotation marks (inverted commas) and properly cite and reference the information.
    • Your professor uses Turnitin similarity scores to determine whether students have cited and referenced their sources properly.
    • Be sure you understand the assignment expectations. If your professor is asking you to put things into your own words, be sure to paraphrase. But remember…
  • You must cite and reference information you paraphrase.

For Help With Citing & Referencing, visit Conestoga’s APA Website.



  • High Point University Libraries. (2022). Turnitin: Interpreting your results.


The Plagiarism Tree was created in collaboration with the Writing Service. The Decision Tree is to assist faculty and students when reviewing written work. Please use this resource with discretion as it does not capture all the complexities of plagiarism, and it is not a "one size fits all" framework for detecting plagiarism. For additional questions, please book an appointment with a Writing Consultant