Everyone knows that directly copying another author's work is plagiarism, but there are also less obvious forms of plagiarism.
Plagiarism is copying an author's work and passing it off as your own. This definition may seem simple, but plagiarism can be much more complicated. Did you know that you could be held responsible for plagiarism if you paraphrase (i.e., to put in your own words) an author's work without providing a citation? Even if you cite your source, if paraphrasing is not done correctly, you could still be plagiarizing.
Luckily, you can avoid plagiarism by citing your sources. It is easy to do and shows how smart you are!
The purpose of college-level research is to locate and analyze literature created by experts in your field, then process all of the information that you found to create your own original ideas. Citations are important, because they give credit to the authors who helped you develop your ideas. Citations also give your paper authority, because they show that you have read literature on the topic and that your conclusions build upon work of other authors. When you provide proper citations, your professors will see that you understand the purpose of college-level research.