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Academic Integrity

Information on academic integrity, plagiarism, and citation at Red Deer Polytechnic.

Steps for avoiding plagiarism:

As a Red Deer Polytechnic student, you are expected to read, analyze, and respond to the ideas of others when writing your papers. However, you always have to acknowledge when you are using someone else's ideas.

To avoid accidental plagiarism, follow these steps:

  1. Use your own ideas. It is important to use the ideas of others to support or reinforce your argument but keep the focus of your paper on your ideas.
  2. Keep track of sources as you find them
  3. Take notes as you research your topic
  4. Learn how to cite your sources
  5. Check your paraphrase against the original text to be sure you have not accidentally used the same words or phrases.

Keep track of sources as you find them

Accidental plagiarism often occurs when you simply forget where you read something. To avoid this, keep track of your sources as you find them!

There are several strategies to keep track of your sources:

  • Use index cards
    You can use index cards to write down a source's author, title, and publication information. You can use one card for every source you read.
  • Use Zotero
    Zotero is a free research and citation manager. You can use Zotero to store information about every source you read.

Take notes as you research your topic

As you research your topic, you should take notes about what you read. Good note-taking will help you remember which source a quote or an idea came from.

There are several resources to help you take good notes while researching:

Learn how to cite your sources

What is citation?

Citation is a way of giving credit to individuals when you use their words or ideas to support your research. Citations have enough information that a reader could find the exact source you used. Typically, this citation information includes the author's name, publication date, and other source information including the journal title or DOI (Digital Object Identifier).

Citation styles are standardized ways to format citations. The citation style will determine exactly what information is necessary for a citation as well as how that information is presented, including punctuation and other formatting. Your instructor will tell you what citation style to use for each assignment. The most commonly used styles are APA, MLA, and Chicago.

Want to learn more about citation?

RDP Library has created online guides to help you with each citation style. For more information about each citation style, take a look at the guides:

RDP Library has created online tutorials to introduce you to citation and the different citation styles. For a guided introduction to getting started with citation, take a look at the tutorials: