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Libraries | Ask the Libraries

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)


Turnitin is a plagiarism detection tool that is embedded within Canvas. By applying Turnitin to a Canvas assignment, instructors can check the originality of student work against the expansive Turnitin database. Turnitin can be used for both group and individual assignments and helps prevent and detect plagiarism. It can also help students learn appropriate citation practices.

Get Help from Libraries and Writing Centers


Writing Centers

Online only until face to face classes resume
Schedule an appointment on the website or by phone: (513) 556-3912
Submit essays for tutor feedback

  • Clermont College

Clermont College students are encouraged to use the Acxademic Writing Center (information above)

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Schedule an appointment through TutorTrac
Questions about TutorTrac? Email

University of Cincinnati Libraries

PO Box 210033 Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0033

Phone: 513-556-1424

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