How to avoid plagiarism
Follow the basic guidelines below on how to cite (refer to or use) other sources. Be careful. If you are ever unsure whether you are plagiarizing or not... you probably are! So, if you ask yourself, "Is this plagiarism when...", the answer is, "YES!!" A quick way out of it is to work out what the idea actually is, whom it belongs to and then to write "according to..." It's a cheap way out, but it works! Please read the guidelines below carefully so that you can cite accurately, cleanly, and usefully.
If you are doing a research paper, you are at the most risk. When doing the actual research be rigorous about documenting the articles and essays correctly. (Go to Documenting Citation and References) Then, when preparing to write your first draft, make sure you have it clearly noted for yourself when other people's ideas appear. That way you will remember to cite them correctly in the draft itself.