Student Help - Getting Started: Using Information/Avoiding plagiarism

Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

The rules and regulations for quoting and citing material in college-level work are fairly complicated, and students new to this work can sometimes make mistakes that technically result in plagiarism. We call this unintentional plagiarism, and although it's serious, almost always professors will give you a chance to remedy the problem and learn from your mistakes.
But there's a more serious kind of plagiarism that involves a deliberate lie and an effort to cheat. Intentional plagiarism is a flagrant attempt to take the easy way out of an assignment by presenting whole papers, parts of papers, and/or information from sources that were written by someone else, as one's own work. This is unethical, and will not be tolerated at Aquinas College.

Writing Help

Avoiding Plagiarism

AQ Academic Integrity Statement

Aquinas College is rooted in the Dominican traditions of prayer, study, community and service, combined with a deep respect for truth, honesty and integrity. In this spirit, we strive to create an environment in which integrity is prized and practiced. We expect all community members to uphold these values through honesty, fairness, and respect for others. More on Campus Integrity.

Quoting, Paraphrasing, & Summarizing

Definitions of Direct Quotes, Paraphrases, and Summaries


Direct Quote: Using exact words from an original source - presented in quotation marks and followed immediately with a parenthitical citation.

Paraphrase: A restatement, in your own words, of a passage of text.  A paraphrase is approximately the same lenghth as the original passage.  Keep in mind that only an occasional word (but not a whole phrase) from an original source appears in a paraphrase.  Paraphrases should not resemble, neither in tone nor structure, the original passage.  Instead they should mimic your voice, and should follow the flow of your thoughts and writing style.  Paraphrases are followed by a parenthetical citation.

Summary: A short and concise account (usually a sentence or two) in your own words of a longer, more detailed passage of original text.


Whether your quote, summarize, or paraphrase, you must cite your source.  Give credit where credit is due!

Original passage: 
Students frequently overuse direct quotations in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper.  Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoated matter.  Therefore, you should strive to limit the amounts of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes.

Source: Lester, James D. Writing Researcher Papers. 2nd ed. (1976): 46-47.

Direct quote: 
James Lester states that "only 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter" (46).

In research papers sutdents often quote excessively, failing to keep quoted material down to a desirable level.  Since the problem usually originates during note taking, it is essential to minimize the material recorded verbatim (Lester 46-47).

Students should take just a few notes in direct quotation from sources to help minimize the amount of quoted material in a research paper (Lester 46-47).

Students often use too many direct quotations when they take notes, resulting in too many of them in the final research paper.  In fact, probably only about 10% of the final copy should consist of directly quoted material.  So it is important to limit the amount of source material copied while taking notes.  
(Note the direct quoting from the original passage, no use of quotation marks, and no parenthetical citation.)