Plagiarizing when writing an assignment or a research paper is unethical. And it could have severe repercussions on your academic or career future: from simple rewriting to paper retraction, from reduced grade to grade loss for students, or loss of reputation for professionals or academics. Yet it may be difficult to understand it, hence, to avoid it. In this article, we will briefly remind you of plagiarism and will give you some effective advices to protect yourself against it.

So, what is plagiarism?

Plagiarism means using someone’s else words or ideas without giving them credit. You cannot use one’s work or statement as yours, even if that person gave you his consent.

Plagiarism: How to avoid it?

Quoting a source

If you want to use someone else’s words or ideas, quote them directly, word-for-word, using quotation marks. You must of course credit the original source, either within the text or within a footnote.

See examples on How to quote the source in an essay  (Academiapros / Blog – 05/01/2019 by Jessica Alfie)

Referencing graphs and images

Any image, chart, figure or graphic design that are not yours must also be acknowledged either by citing the document source underneath the relevant item or within a footnote.

You can find further details on how to properly reference licensed-materials here (Creative Commons wiki : Best practices for attribution)

Paraphrasing the source

Restate in your own words an interesting passage in order to be more concise, to support your argument and your writing style. However, you must always reference your source (in-text or via a footnote).

To learn more about paraphrasing, read Paraphrasing power (in French, or How to paraphrase (, 2017/06/07).

Citing the source

For any writing assignment, you must create a bibliography at the end of your document. This will list all your references and must include all the details for your readers to identify and retrieve them easily. While it testifies of your research work and of your respect to author copyrights, this reference list also increases the credibility of your arguments.