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There are quite a few different ways to cite resources in your paper. The citation style usually depends on the academic discipline involved. Check with your professor to make sure you use the required style, and whatever style you choose, be consistent.
To avoid plagiarizing someone else words or ideas, make sure you:
"The purpose of a research paper is to synthesize previous research and scholarship with your ideas on the subject. Therefore, you should feel free to use other persons' words, facts, and thoughts in your research paper, but the material you borrow must not be presented as if it were your own creation."
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th Edition. New York: MLA. 55. Print.
According to Columbia College's Student Conduct Code, plagiarism is using others' ideas and words without clearly acknowledging the source of that information.
Plagiarism may take many forms: cheating, copying information directly without providing quotation marks, failing to cite sources, or citing sources incorrectly. It does not matter whether you intended to plagiarize or whether the plagiarism occurred unintentionally; it still constitutes academic dishonesty. Ignorance of the rules of correct citation is not an acceptable excuse for plagiarism.
Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty can subject a student to both academic discipline and disciplinary action under the university Student Conduct Review Process, and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, course, or dismissal from Columbia College.
If you are unclear as to what constitutes plagiarism, ask your instructor or a librarian for further clarification.