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Avoiding Plagiarism

What is Plagiarism?

Students are expected to complete written assignments with honesty and integrity to avoid academic integrity offences such as plagiarism. An academic offence can occur when a student knowingly or unknowingly submits work that has been plagiarized.  Therefore, it is important to know what plagiarism is.

Plagiarism is purposefully using another person's work (including ideas, words, and illustrations) as your own without giving credit.

Plagiarism is only one of many possible academic offences. This scale shows a spectrum of the least to the most serious offences:

The least serious is citing and referencing omissions, more serious is plagiarism, and most serious is contract cheating.

Citing and Referencing Errors/Omissions

  • A misunderstanding of APA rules and techniques
  • Minor technical errors in citing and referencing 


  • Using someone else's words, ideas, or images without proper credit
  • Major errors or omissions with the intent to mislead the reader

Contract Cheating

  • Paying (or trading with) another person or company to complete academic work


If you have questions about academic integrity at Conestoga, visit the Library's Academic Integrity website or book an academic integrity consultation

How to Avoid Plagiarism in Your Writing

Use these tips to help you avoid plagiarism and other academic integrity offences when you write:

In order to give proper credit for the information you include in your paper, you need to keep track of the sources you read. Use the Writing Services' Tracking Sources and Research Review Table to keep track of important information you read and the sources they come from.

There are different ways to cite a quotation or paraphrase depending on the style used in your program (i.e. APA or IEEE):


Standard Citation:

The force and length of the gum chewing determine how much of the nicotine is released (Robson, 2010, p. 300).

Narrative Citation:

According to Robson (2010), the force and length of the gum chewing determine how much of the nicotine is released (p. 300).



The force and length of the gum chewing determine how much of the nicotine is released [1]. 

A reference list must be included at the end of your paper and give details about all the sources you have used throughout.  

  • The page should be labelled References
  • All entries in the paper must be found in the reference list and vice versa
  • The style used in your program will determine the format of the list. While most programs use APA, learn about other styles on our Citing and Referencing Styles page


  • The author's name in the paper corresponds to the author's name in the reference list.
  • Order entries alphabetically and use double-spacing.
  • Use a hanging indent.


Robson, N. (2010). Nicotine-replacement therapy: A proven treatment for smoking cessation. South African Family Practice, 52(4), 298-303. 


  • Use the citation numbers in the paper for the reference entries.
  • Order entries by number.
  • Format the hanging indent so that the subsequent lines align with the start of the author's name.


Sample IEEE reference with numerical citation and hanging indent