How to Avoid Plagiarism: An Online Tutorial

Educational Goals and Objectives:

The goals for this tutorial are that students will use information in an ethical manner and will recognize the art of citation as part of the scholarly communication process.

The educational objective is that the student will produce a college-level paper with correct citations for all research materials.

The standards and performance indicators for the modules are based on the Association of College and Research Libraries Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education

ACRL Literacy Standard Five:

"The information literate student understands many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally."

Performance Indicators:

 "The information literate student follows laws, regulation, institutional policies, and etiquette related to the access and use of information resources."

Educational Outcomes:

  • Student accesses and assimilates the Rutgers University Guidelines for Academic Honesty.
  • Student properly attributes sources materials when writing academic papers.

Performance Indicators:

"The information literate student acknowledges the use of information sources in communicating the product or performance."

Educational Outcomes:

  • Student identifies when to use a citation.
  • Demonstrates an understanding that all non-original information needs to be acknowledged.
  • Identifies intellectual honesty as part of the scholarly communication process and as part of good scholarly writing.

Background information (how the project fits into the mission of the unit and the University)

The Paul Robeson Library Reference faculty recognize that undergraduate students struggle with the concept of plagiarism. "How to Avoid Plagiarism" is intended to give students a clear understanding of what is plagiarism using clear language and concrete examples.

In order to reach the maximum number of students, this tutorial utilizes Macromedia Flash movies and is freely available on the Web.  Flash is a format familiar to most undergrads and it utilizes a free plug-in. A text-based version is also available for any students with special needs.


The tutorial contains a quiz that addresses the key concepts.  The quiz provides the student with immediate feedback.

Target Audience:

The target audience for the tutorial is undergraduates, especially first-year students.  This tutorial could also be useful for graduate students.

Awards and Acknowledgements for the Site:

This tutorial has been selected for inclusion in the Association of  College and Research Libraries Instructional Section's PRIMO database.  PRIMO is a juried online resource for academic librarians. "How to Avoid Plagiarism" was the featured "Site of the Month" in February 2005. 

This tutorial was also featured in the book, The Plagiarism Plague:  A Resource Guide and CD-ROM Tutorial for Educators and Librarians, Vibiana Bowman Cvetkovic, editor (New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2004).