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Avoiding Plagiarism Tutorial

A tutorial to help you learn about and avoid plagiarism in your academic work.


The readings and videos in this section should take approximately 10 minutes.

Take Good Notes

Effective note-taking can:

  • Ensure the accuracy of direct quotes and citations you use in your writing
  • Improve your paraphrases of other people's ideas
  • Help you develop and organize your own original ideas
  • Lessen the risk that you will commit unintentional plagiarism


Note-taking Tips

1. When taking notes, do not copy words directly from a source unless you intend to quote that source.

  • Instead, read carefully, think and then write the main ideas into your own words to paraphrase the source.
  • Once you've rewritten the main ideas into your own words, be sure to note the source of the ideas. Remember: you still need to provide a proper citation when you paraphrase the work of others.
  • By taking this step in your research notes instead of paraphrasing directly from a source into your draft, you provide yourself with the time and space to think about the main ideas separately from the writing process.
  • In your notes, consider using different coloured pens or different fonts to identify your words and paraphrases separately from the words of the authors you're reading.

2. When taking notes from a source that you intend to quote directly, the first thing you should do is include the citation information for the source in your notes.

  • By including the source information directly next to the text, you provide yourself with a visual cue that you've copied the words verbatim.
  • In your notes, be certain to include quotation marks when you've copied text directly from a source to ensure you'll incorporate those words as a direct quotation in your own work.

3. When collecting notes from different works written by different authors, draw lines in between notes pertaining to different sources. 

  • These lines will remind you that you need to provide a new citation for each source.
  • When you're collecting notes electronically in a Word document from other sources of online information, avoid too much cutting-and-pasting, which can lead to unintentional plagiarism as you collect information without paraphrasing, identifying authors, or including citation information.


  1. University of Texas at Austin Library. Note-taking [online video]. Retrieved from


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