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Plagiarism: Student Resources

Hints and resources for students and faculty on how to detect and avoid plagiarism.

Citations Libguide

You can find more resources for avoiding plagiarism by checking out the VGCC Library Citations Libguide.


Things You DON'T Need to Cite...

Your own opinions/ideas:
"It is a mistake to overlook smaller, lower profile markets because..."
Common knowledge: What IS common knowledge anyway? Common knowledge refers to facts that most people are aware of, for example: 
The sun rises in the east and sets in the West.
Thirteen colonies formed the United States.
John Lennon was assassinated.

However, if you use someone else's words to describe something that is common knowledge, you must quote and cite the passage.

General Tips..

Keep track of your sources
Start saving your sources as you find them. Save them to a citation management tool, email them to yourself, or print them out.
Take good notes
Keep track of page numbers and mark the sections you are using. Keep a research log; copy the wording, punctuation, and spelling exactly as it appears in the original text.
Ask your instructor
Always ask if you are unsure of when to cite.
Don't procrastinate
Unintentional plagiarism is often the result of disorganization. Stay organized and don't wait until the last minute.

What happens when you plagiarize?

Plagiarism is taken very seriously in schools, business, government, and all of the places people learn and work. Whether intentional or unintentional, plagiarism can have long-term and damaging effects on a person's education and career.

At VGCC, if you plagiarize, you can fail an assignment or course, be suspended, or even be expelled. See the "VGCC Plagiarism Policy" page in this guide to find out more about VGCC's procedures for dealing with plagiarism.

At work, plagiarism can get you reprimanded or fired.

Discovery of past incidents of plagiarism have forced politicians out of elections, journalists to lose their jobs, authors to lose publishing contracts, and graduates to have their degrees revoked.

Technology has only made it easier to detect plagiarism. There are many tools available to scan for plagiarism, but even a simple Google search can catch many instances. The easiest way to avoiding getting caught plagiarizing is to not do it in the first place!

Special Thanks

Portions of this guide were originally published in the "Avoid Plagiarism" Library Research Guide from Kreitzberg Library at Norwich University and are used with permission.

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Quoting, Summarizing, Paraphrasing

Don't Get Busted! Avoid disaster with these helpful websites.   

According to, re-tweeting without giving the original source is the 10th  most common type of plagiarism.

Citation Builders

Citation Apps

These apps are available in iTunes and need to be accessed from an electronic device.

Need help?  Contact the VGCC Library.