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Writing & Citing (APA, MLA etc.)

Self-help for creating citations and references for research papers.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is using the words or ideas of others without giving them proper credit. This can range from intentional cheating like passing off another's paper as your own, to unintentional actions like forgetting to use quotation marks or using citations improperly. Plagiarism can hold serious consequences, so it is important to understand what it means and how to avoid it.

Some examples of plagiarism:

  • Restating information in your own words (paraphrasing) without citing the original author
  • Cutting and pasting passages from a book, article, or website in your paper without using quotation marks and citing them
  • Using the ideas of another person without citing them

Plagiarism can result in:

  • An F-grade on an assignment
  • an F-grade in the class
  • Expulsion from the University

Tips to avoid plagiarism:

  • Always keep citation information in your notes and use quotation marks when directly quoting another person
  • When restating information in your own words (paraphrasing), don't just change the order or use synonyms from a thesaurus
  • When in doubt, cite
  • Use your own ideas where possible

Is it Plagiarism?

Useful Websites

CSULA Policies

Cal State LA's policies on academic honesty, cheating, misrepresentation and plagiarism from the Office of University Judicial Affairs can be found in Appendix D of the University Catalog. 


John F. Kennedy Memorial Library
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8300