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Citation Styles and How to Guide

Citation Guidance

Understanding Plagarism

Plagiarism is using someone else's work or ideas and claiming them as your own without giving proper attribution through citing the source or the consent of the author.  To avoid plagiarism, you should always cite when you are quoting, paraphrasing, or summarizing information that you're using from another person's work. 

Check out this handout from the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) for an overview of plagiarism.


Check out these plagiarism FAQs available from Purdue OWL.

A common misconception about plagiarism is that if you cite to a source but your citation is formatted incorrectly then you have plagiarized the source.  This is incorrect!  You have done your best to give credit to the original work by providing a citation, and therefore, this is not plagiarism but a citation error.

Greensboro College (GC) takes plagiarism seriously, and it is a violation of the GC Honor Code to plagiarize.  Here are some tools available to help you avoid plagiarism in your work:

  • TurnItIn Draft Coach: This resource is free to you as a GC student and offers similarity, citation, and grammar checking tools to help you check for areas in your writing that should be revised to make it truly your own.  For instructions on how to use TurnItIn Draft Coach, follow these instructions.
  • Plagiarism Flowchart: The Purdue OWL created this flowchart to help you evaluate whether you should cite to a source.

Although geared towards teachers and administrators, this statement from the Council of Writing Program Administrators provide helpful information about what plagiarism is, the causes of plagiarism, and how instructors can adopt best practices to help students understand plagiarism.

To create an acceptable paraphrase
1. Decide to include something from a specific source for a particular reason (e.g., as evidence, an example, a comparison, etc.)
2. Think about and understand the chosen material.
3. Put aside the source material before beginning your paraphrase.
4. Think about (or talk out) how to explain the idea to another person in your own way and with your own words.
5. Write from your understanding.
6. Read over your draft and revise to capture as fully as you can what you understand the writer meant.
7. Go back to check the original source to ensure you have captured the author’s meaning accurately.
8. This process is a loop and can be repeated and revised, as needed.
9. Remember to include the in-text citation (this connects your words to where the concepts came from).