Plagiarism and Citations — Is It Plagiarism if You Cite

Is it plagiarism if you cite? That’s a common question…

Is it plagiarism if you cite? That’s a common question among students.

What Exactly is Plagiarism?

person holding a magnifying glass over a Hebrew manuscript.
Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

Plagiarism is presenting the words, ideas, or results of another study as your own; it denies the author or creators of the content credit. Plagiarism breaches ethical standards in scholarship, whether deliberate or unintentional.

Plagiarizing authors disrespect the efforts of original authors by failing to acknowledge their contributions. They also complicate further research by not acknowledging the original sources of the ideas they plagiarized and unfairly disregarding the original writers.

Many cases of plagiarism are simple such as global plagiarism, where the plagiarist just copies a huge portion (or its entirety) of the source. However, some types of plagiarism, such as unintentional or incremental plagiarism, are more demanding to identify.

Sometimes, using incorrect citations is not determined as plagiarism since it is an honest mistake. That said, the instructor usually warns the student and gives them another chance to correct their mistakes.

However, such errors may still lead to deductions on an academic assignment or a request for revision of a manuscript submitted for publication.

A student can be self-plagiarizing when he/she submits a paper written for one class to complete an assignment for another. Students who use the same paper in multiple classes may violate university academic integrity policies, honor codes, or ethics codes.

Is it Plagiarism If You Cite?

If you have properly paraphrased or quoted and correctly cited the source, you are not engaging in plagiarism.

However, the correct expression is essential. To avoid plagiarism, you must follow the guidelines of your citation style, be it APA, MLA, or Chicago.

It is expected that if you submit work bearing your name, you are submitting work you have done on your own. Putting your name on an assignment is as important as knowing that the work contained within it is yours unless expressly stated otherwise.

In light of this, well-cited content must make clear in order to indicate that it isn’t your original work when using work from others. Citations also show that you have done proper research and consulted appropriate texts for your assignment.

When one attempts to cite the work but does it incorrectly, things become murky. The above can include anything from simply using the wrong citation style to footnoting a passage lifted directly but not quoting it.

Depending on the circumstances, those cases differ greatly. An instructor may reduce your grade if you use the wrong citation style but won’t consider it plagiarism since the source is fully cited.

However, when citations are neither correct nor complete, they cannot definitely be considered plagiarism. If you quote a passage, it doesn’t matter if you cite the source since you gave credit only for the information.

To Wrap Up

So is it plagiarism if you cite? No, as long as you are citing your sources correctly, it is not plagiarism. On the contrary, if you don’t cite your sources in your paper, then you will be committing plagiarism!

Frequently asked questions

Is citing incorrectly plagiarism?

Make sure you are putting the ideas into your own words, changing both the structure of the sentence and the language. As a result, your citation fails to accomplish its intended goal. This makes it plagiarism.

Does Turnitin detect citations?

Turnitin will identify common in-line citation methods using our machine learning algorithm and remove them from the Similarity Report. The citation and associated text will be excluded. In the Similarity Report, anything within the quotes will be filtered out.

Is it possible to cite sources but still plagiarize?

If you change the order in which words or ideas are used from the original source, and use some of your own words mixed into the original words, you are still plagiarizing, even when you cite the source.

How do you avoid plagiarism in a citation?

Give the author of the material credit by “documenting” or “citing” their sources (terms which indicate you credit their source). You can credit a quote when you refer to a direct quote by placing it in quotation marks and giving the author credit.

Is it plagiarism if you cite but don’t quote?

Answer: Relative to your version of the text, the original text is very similar. It might be considered plagiarism, even if it is clear you are citing the source. Quotes are a good way to cite the text as it is or to paraphrase it to make it different from the original.

Is quoting with citation plagiarism?

Do not use quotation marks when quoting the author verbatim to avoid plagiarism. You should also use words/phrases such as “stated,” “mentioned that,” “in the words of,” etc. Unless otherwise indicated, you are using the author’s exact words. In addition, you should cite the source.

What percentage of plagiarism is acceptable?

According to convention, a text similarity below 15% by the authors is acceptable by the journals, and a similarity above 20% is considered to be plagiarism.

Can citations be plagiarized?

Citations are necessary in order to provide credit to the correct sources; failure to properly cite may lead to plagiarism. Though it is important to use sources, such as paraphrased explanations, quotations, statistical reports, or figures, to inspire your thoughts.

What Cannot be considered as plagiarism?

Pre-written papers are available. You can ask someone else to write your paper. Paying someone else to write it for you. Submitting as your own unpublished work without permission, or with or without permission.

Plagiarism and Citations — Is It Plagiarism if You Cite

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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