Plagiarism FAQs – OHIO University Libraries

I found a quote on a website that I want to use, but the website says they got the quote from a book, should I reference the website or the book for this quote?

You should reference the original source, which in this case would be the book. It was not the website’s idea or creation (that quote) so you want to give proper credit to that original author.

Is it still plagiarism if I didn’t unintentionally copy someone else’s work; I didn’t mean to?

Technically, yes this is still a form of plagiarism which is why it’s important to double check your work as well as understand what plagiarism includes.

How do I find a source I know I need to cite? I lost it and/or cannot find the original…

Ask a librarian! We are happy to help you track down a resource; we are pretty good at it too! Also, it doesn’t hurt to copy and paste a quote or sentence from the source you are trying to re-find into Google and see if your article (or book, etc.) will pop up. Google can find just about anything.

If I include a list of reference I used, am I covered?

This is a start, but depending on what style of writing you are using (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) you will have to include some more information. You need to indicate was portions of your paper are being cited. By simply listing your references and not letting the reader know what reference is direct to what sentence/quote, this action is not very helpful.

How do I save my Plagiarism Tutorial results as a PDF?

  1. Click “Print Results” within tutorial and type in your name.
  2. From your full results page (which should be in a browser) select your setting/preferences menu and select “Print”.
  3. Instead of sending your results to a printer, in the drop-down menu, choose Adobe PDF (for mac users, this will be at the bottom of the print menu).
  4. Select “OK” and your PDF will be created. You can then save and upload your results to Blackboard.


How do I clearly write what is my idea verses what my sources’ idea? In other words, how do I keep my voice?

This may take some practice. If you have a source that is just spot on and there is no way you could re-explain it or integrate it with another idea, then quote the reference directly. You can also paraphrase the quote to keep the original sources ideas true, but this utilizes your own words as well; double bonus. To make sure you are properly paraphrasing, you can practice this by explaining, out loud, the concept without looking at the source. Whatever you say out loud to describe the original concept is what you should include in your paper; no synonyms here, just your own words.

Are there some kinds of information that I do not need to document or cite directly?

You may be referring to common knowledge. Common knowledge is information that nearly everyone knows. This could refer to the general population as a whole or a specific area, age group or expertise.

If I put the information from my sources into my own words, do I still need to include citations?

Short answer, yes. Why-because you are still describing THEIR ideas, not your own. Just because you are using your own words does not mean that you created this idea.

Let’s say I do not know anything on the topic, can I turn in a paper that is mostly other sources?

This is not a good idea. The whole point of a paper or assignment is for the audience (your professor) to hear your voice and understand your thoughts on a topic. You will have to do some reading and research to learn more about the topic and then write about it. Use quotes from other sources to a minimum, they should not out-shine you. Also, you need to double check with your professor to ensure you are on the right track and ensure your understand what they are looking for in your paper.

Do I have to cite myself?

If you have written another paper and you are using bits and pieces of it in this paper, then yes. Self-plagiarism is the act of presenting your work that has been done in the past as if it were completed in the present. Even if your paper was not published, you should cite yourself. This is a grey area and there are times when you do not need to cite yourself, so double check with your professor.