Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.


More Hours

Citation Styles

Guide to creating citations correctly and avoiding plagiarism.

Why does plagiarism matter?

Cal State East Bay's academic policy lists plagiarism as a form of academic dishonesty. It tells us that plagiarism:

Includes taking the words, ideas, or substance of another and either copying or paraphrasing the work without giving credit to the source through appropriate use of footnotes, quotation marks, or reference citations.

However, there is no need to worry. Once you understand what plagiarism means in an academic environment, it is easy to avoid.

Source: Cal State East Bay - Academic Dishonesty


Common Types of Plagiarism

  • Direct

The most obvious type of plagiarism. Copying portions or the entirety of another work into your own work, verbatim, without proper attribution. 

  • Mosaic

This type of plagiarism is essentially bad paraphrasing. Including the ideas from another work in your own without proper attribution.

  • Self Plagiarism

Reusing your own work without permission. Submitting portions or the entirety of work you have already submitted for a different course without permission from the instructor is a form of plagiarism.

  • Accidental

Proper attribution is important regardless of intent. Presenting others' ideas as your own without citation is still plagiarism, even when it is accidental.


All types of plagiarism can be avoided by acknowledging the sources in your academic work with proper citation.


SafeAssign is a feature of Blackboard that checks for matches between submitted assignments and existing works. Using an algorithm, SafeAssign generates an Originality Report that compares your submission with other works in its database. SafeAssign will score your assignment on a scale of zero to one hundred percent, based on the amount of matching text. However, scoring above a zero percent does not mean you have plagiarized. Quotations and reference list entries can increase the overall matching percentage, but as long as those sources have been cited properly, that is not a problem.

More information on SafeAssign and understanding Originality Reports can be found here, on Blackboard's website.



Purdue OWL

Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL) is the premiere online guide to citation. Here you will find the OWL guide to avoiding plagiarism.


Online quizzes to test your plagiarism knowledge 


Video guide to avoiding plagiarism from Bainbridge State College