Skip to main content

Using Information Sources Ethically and Legally

The guide is designed to help students maintain their academic integrity by using information sources ethically and legally.

Why do students plagiarize?

  • They may have a different cultural background.
  • They may not know/understand why proper attribution of sources is important.
  • They may not know how to document sources appropriately.
  • They are stressed and pressed for time.
  • They don't keep track of their sources while doing research.
  • They are not happy with their writing abilities.

Tips for avoiding plagiarism

  • Put in quotations all the text you use directly.
  • When paraphrasing and summarizing, use your own words and style to express ideas.
  • Provide citations for all quotations, summaries and paraphrases.
  • Provide citations for any material from other sources, including images, audio, information obtained by e-mail, chat, etc.
  • Keep track of your citations. If you are photocopying, printing or downloading an article or an excerpt from a book, keep the citation information together with the text. Citation formatters will help you!.
  • Check with a writing tutor whether you have paraphrased or summarized the source correctly.
  • Ask a librarian to help you with citing your sources properly in the required format.
  • Err on the side of caution: when in doubt, cite!

Additional tips

For a comprehensive list of pitfalls to avoid see Definite don'ts (University of Maine at Farmington)


SafeAssign™ is a plagiarism prevention service, offered by Blackboard. Instructors can set up SafeAssignments in their Blackboard courses. Whenever encounter an item in Blackboard which is using SafeAssign, it should be accompanied by the following statement:

This assignment uses SafeAssign, a tool that detects and defers academic dishonesty by comparing your submission against common databases, the Internet, and work submitted by other students. SafeAssign is intended to educate students about the appropriate use of citations. You can protect your own work by optionally adding your documents to the Global Reference Database. Please see your instructor for details.Visit the UC Libraries' CampusGuides for information on citing sources and avoiding plagiarism.


Get Help from Libraries and Writing Centers


Writing Centers

Langsam Library in room 401N
Schedule an appointment on the website   by phone: (513) 556-3912
Email drafts of your assignments
Questions? Contact Dr. Joseph Cunningham by email: or phone: (513) 556-2866. 

Peters-Jones, Room 104

112K Muntz Hall,
(513) 745-5733
Schedule an appointment through TutorTrac
Questions? Contact Dr. Libby Anthony by email:

Notice of Non-Discrimination | Copyright Information © 2015 University of Cincinnati