Avoiding Plagiarism

What is Plagiarism

Plagiarism means using someone else’s work without giving proper credit.

“Work” includes but is not limited to written words, art, music, information from the Internet, videos, interviews, data or statistics.

“Giving proper credit” means carefully following the formatting rules of a documentation style such as APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.


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Whether intentional or unintentional, plagiarism is a serious academic offense. It is important to inform yourself of what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it in your work.

The following are some examples of plagiarism:

  • Improper paraphrasing or summarizing even if cited correctly. When restating information in your own words you must ensure that you are synthesizing the information in your own writing style and are not simply changing a few words or reversing the order of words in the sentence.
  • Handing in someone else’s work as your own, such as another student’s paper or purchasing a paper from a paper mill.
  • Not citing information that has been paraphrased or summarized (information or ideas that have been put into your own words).
  • Providing an incorrect citation for borrowed information. Accidentally mixing up the citation and the source is still considered plagiarism.
  • Failing to put quotation marks around information that was copied even if it was cited.
  • Self plagiarism, using a previous paper for a current assignment without permission from your instructor.

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Tips to Avoid Plagiarism

  1. Start early: give yourself enough time to complete your assignment. When short on time, it is easy to make mistakes when taking notes and citing your sources. Research, citing, and writing the paper often takes much longer then anticipated; try an assignment calculator to help you manage your time.
  2. Keep track of your sources: either save your research in your email or use a reference manager such as Mendeley or Zotero.
  3. Cite correctly: learn the required documentation style APA, MLA, Chicago, etc. Check with your instructor on which style you are required to use for the assignment.
  4. Complete the bibliography BEFORE writing: complete your list of sources in the required style before taking notes and writing, so it is clear what is needed for your in-text citations.
  5. Take accurate and complete notes: when taking notes or writing your first draft, make sure to always indicate:
    • copied information – enclose in quotation marks AND provide a citation
    • paraphrased or summarized information – provide a citation
    • your own thoughts – nothing is required
  6. Take time to review and ask questions: proofread your work to make sure you cited everything correctly. Seek assistance from library staff or your instructor if you have any questions about your sources.
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LNAP WINTER 2019

LNAP is coming to MHC on February 13, 2019, and there is so much to be excited for!

But what is it?

LNAP stands for Long Night Against Procrastination, and this semester it is coming to MHC on February 13, 2019!

Once a semester we plan a night to bring you the services we you need at times they normally are not available at. After hours!

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Who is it for?

LNAP is planned with MHC students in mind! All of this is for you!

When is it?

Winter 2019 LNAP is taking place on Wednesday, February 13th from 5 pm. to midnight.

What can I expect?

  • You can expect an exciting, welcoming atmosphere
  • You can expect quick half hour (or less) workshops filled with all kinds of activities
  • You can expect mental health stress reliefs (hint:  puppies and kitties, and Zen Zone)
  • You can expect snacks and drinks (another hint:  pizza and coffee)
  • You can expect assistance and guidance from Faculty, all staff including Advising, Library, IT, Peer Support, Writing Specialist, tutors in the ARC, Counselors and more
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What do I need to do?

  • Register now at LNAP Pre-Registration or register in person starting February 4 in the cafeteria or B-wing hallway (location changes depending on the day)
  • Bring your student ID card
  • Arrive at 5, ready to make the most of an amazing night!

We’ll be there, and we are excited to see you there too!  Participate in all the workshops, or only a few for some well-deserved breaks, or just hunker down to get your assignments and studying done.  What the night is really is up to you!

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Three Top Writing Tips

Writing good papers is a skill, and like any other skill, doing it well takes knowledge and practice. It is important to remember that it is not always effective to focus on the grade you receive for an individual paper. Instead, you should focus on the amount of progress or improvement you are able to make in your writing over a whole semester or even a whole year.

Keeping that in mind, here are a few things you can do to help improve your writing:

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  1. Read more. Reading more books or articles from well-edited sources (journals, magazines (in print or online) can help you internalize proper grammatical patterns (without having to spend hours talking about grammar), expand your vocabulary, improve your spelling, along with many other benefits (including decreasing your stress levels). The catch is that it has to be well-written, longer-form material, not some random’s Instagram feed or a Twitter thread, because as entertaining as these can be, they are probably full of the bad writing habits you are trying to break.
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  2. Read the feedback your instructor gives you and meet with your instructor to discuss the feedback. The best way to learn how to improve your future writing is to learn from the mistakes you have already made; otherwise, you will continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. Talk to your instructor to make sure you understand what their comments mean, then actually try to rewrite those sections of your paper to see if you can correct the errors (yes, even if the paper can’t be resubmitted for marks).

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  3. Visit the Writing Specialist. Bring the paper with your instructor’s feedback (and maybe your attempted rewrites) to your appointment, and the Writing Specialist can talk you through different ways to repair various writing mistakes or essay structure problems so that you won’t make the same mistakes on your next paper. By making baby-steps in writing improvement on each paper you submit, you can easily improve your writing over the course of a semester.

Need Help with Essays?

Writing college-level essays and assignments can be scary, especially if you have never written one before, have been out of school for a while, or are an international student unfamiliar with the expectations of Canadian institutions. Medicine Hat College offers free Writing Support Services to all students in any program or discipline. As the Writing Specialist, I am here to help you with practical advice at all stages of the writing process for a variety of assignments.

I am happy to help you with everything from understanding your assignment and brainstorming ideas to thesis development, essay structure, and self-editing. If you are struggling with grammar, punctuation, formatting, and citation and referencing (APA, MLA, and Chicago), stop by and I can give you advice and point you toward useful resources and tools.

It’s important to remember that the content of your papers is your responsibility. I can’t tell you what to write or edit your whole paper for you. But if you are stuck and need help understanding your assignment or figuring out the structure of your essay, if you want feedback on a draft or tips on how to improve your writing based on the feedback from a paper you got back from an instructor, make an appointment with me or drop by and I’ll do my best to answer any questions you have or talk through your concerns regarding an assignment.

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The best place to find me is in Student Success Centre in the Vera Bracken Library for drop-ins or appointments (a sign-up sheet is on the cubicle wall) Monday through Thursday 10:00-12:00 and 1:00-3:00, and Friday 11:00-1:00. I also offer assistance through limited office-hour appointments (booked via email), online tutoring (via Blackboard), or small group tutorials. See the Writing Support webpage for contact information and more.

Becoming a better writer is a process that takes time and practice, and I’m here to help!

You’re invited to LNAP!

LNAP logoWhat is it?

LNAP stands for Long Night Against Procrastination.  Still confused?  One night each semester we bring together all the services that we think will help you succeed as a student here at MHC.  We want to help you avoid procrastination and give you support to start (or finish!) all of your assignments and papers.

Who is it for?

LNAP is a college-wide event for all MHC students.

When is it?

Fall 2018 LNAP is happening Wednesday, October 10th from 5 pm. to midnight.

What can I expect?

  • You can expect a fun, friendly atmosphere
  • You can expect quick workshops filled with all kinds of success strategies
  • You can expect stress release activities (hint:  puppies and kitties)
  • You can expect food and caffeine (another hint:  pizza)
  • You can expect help and support from Faculty, all staff including Advising, Library, IT, Peer Support, Writing Specialist, tutors in the ARC, Counselors and more

What do I need to do?

  • Register now at LNAP Pre-Registration or register in person starting October 1 in the cafeteria or B-wing hallway (location changes depending on the day)
  • Bring your student ID card
  • Arrive at 5 and be ready to become a part of something big!

It’s up to you.  Join in all of the activities or hunker down and get some work done.  It’s all good.  See you there!