How to Avoid Plagiarism

Guidelines for Avoiding Paraphrasing and Summarizing Errors

Guideline VIII...

Is the following statement true or false?

You have to cite a paraphrased source as many times as you borrow ideas from it, even if the ideas are in the same paragraph.


The statement is true.

Do not assume your reader will know that you are still rewording an author's ideas. You have to tell the reader. Not to cite the second, third, and fourth paraphrases is to take credit for the ideas yourself. This is especially important where the text you paraphrase is nonfiction, because it primarily contains ideas.

Guideline VIII: Re-acknowledge the author and provide the proper citations whenever you paraphrase more than once, even within the same paragraph.

Here is the original text:

A vision is an expression of hope and idealism. It oversimplifies the world and implies that anything is possible. The embarrassment we may feel is really our vulnerability at taking a stance of innocence in the midst of an environment that seems sophisticated, hard-nosed, and pragmatic...

We know we create a great vision when it has three qualities:

  1. It comes from the heart...
  2. We, alone, can make this statement...
  3. It is radical and compelling...

Here is an example of proper paraphrasing and summarizing with multiple in-text citations:

A vision statement is a personal statement (Block, 1987, p. 115). In devising our own, we shouldn't be concerned with the limitations of the marketplace (Block). Peter Block lists three characteristics of a good vision statement: it's emotional rather than logical; it reflects our uniqueness; and it challenges us and others.


The three sentences above correctly paraphrase and cite the original source. If one of these sentences was not referenced either directly—e.g., "Peter Block lists..."—or using a parenthetical citation, then the paraphrase would be incorrect because it would not adequately reflect who is saying what.

When the paraphrases are taken from different pages, then you should cite the new page number but omit the author's name because it is implied that the author is the same.