What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism simply means that unethical practice of using words or ideas of another author/researcher or your-own previous works without proper acknowledgement. WUSL considers plagiarism as a serious academic and intellectual offence, and it can result in highly negative consequences destroying the credibility and reputation both the author and the institute. Further, it takes credit away from the original creator of the work which may mean more trouble if the source takes legal action against you. Even if you are using idea(s) from your previous publications, they should also be cited properly, otherwise it comes under ‘self-plagiarism’.

Therefore, guard yourself from plagiarism and here are some guidelines to avoid plagiarism.

Cite your sources

When you include external evidence in your writing, which is very important in academic writing, make sure those sources must be used appropriately. You can include information from external sources through proper paraphrasing and quoting. When alluding to an idea or wording that is not your own, properly site the source according to the style guide you are adhering to.


Paraphrasing is re-writing idea(s) what you get from a source in your-own words, without changing its original meaning. If not done correctly, paraphrasing can slip into plagiarism. Understanding the idea(s) of the reference source well, in order to paraphrase correctly. Remember, you are still using another’s idea(s), so you will need to cite the source properly.


Another method for including outside idea(s) in your writing is to use quote. The quotes should be exactly the way they appear in the paper you take them from. Note that it is important to cite the quote as well. Citing a quote can be different than citing paraphrased materials.

Use plagiarism checker

There are several plagiarism checking tools, that scan your document, compares it to a large database of online texts and publications, and highlight texts that are similar to others. Some online plagiarism checker sites facilitate free plagiarism checking service, but they have limitations. Consult the Library of WUSL for getting support of this kind of services.