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Plagiarism and APA Style Guide, 6th edition: Plagiarism

This guide is designed to assist students with using the APA style for their research papers. It covers, formatting a paper, citing sources and references in accordance with the APA style guide.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism can be broadly defined as the failure to acknowledge your sources through the use of citations. This includes using your own work and previous submissions and not citing it appropriately, which is called self-plagiarism. Self-plagiarism is still plagiarism, as it involves misrepresenting your work as new and original by giving the impression that your work was written after conducting research and analyzing new information.

Plagiarism can occur in different forms as seem in the image below and is often associated with stealing since you are using information from a source without giving credit. In academia, plagiarism falls under Academic Dishonesty. According to the Valencia College Student Code of Conduct, all forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited including acts or attempted acts of plagiarism. The Student Handbook also states that “Whenever a student uses ideas, wording or organization from another source, the source shall be appropriately acknowledged.” 

*A source is any book/document, website, video/audio file, works of art, or interview, from where information is taken to complete an assignment.

Types of plagiarism

Image retrieved from

How can I avoid plagiarism?

Plagiarism can be avoided by acknowledging your sources, and giving credit through a citation when you use the opinions, thoughts, ideas, or information. If you do not give credit to your source, intentionally or not, it is plagiarism.

You need to acknowledge your sources whether you summarize, paraphrase or use a direct quote. There are only two instances when you do not need to cite your sources, one is when you state your own original thought, and the other is when you use common knowledge. Common knowledge refers to information that most people may know, or information that can be found in multiple sources. If you are unsure whether a piece of information is common knowledge, cite it.

There are many reasons why it is important to cite your sources correctly. Citations help you to:

  1. avoid plagiarism by giving credit
  2. show that your paper is well researched
  3. allow your reader to follow up and access your sources 


Know your required citation style:


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Devika Ramsingh

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