To avoid committing plagiarism, you will need to know what it is and how to recognize it (see box below and Causes...tab), how to cite your sources (see Citing Sources and Citations Styles tabs), how to properly incorporate the works of others (sources) into your research paper (see Paraphrasing, Quoting, Summarizing tab), and also become proficient in your knowledge by practicing using tutorials and exercises (see Additional Resources).
Plagiarism is the act of presenting someone else’s work, words, or ideas as your own.
More detailed definitions:
“Simply put, plagiarism is the theft of intellectual property belonging to another. This includes both the theft of unwritten ideas and concepts as well as the theft of written texts, notes, computer programs, designs, and/or visual materials" (Jones 4) .
"In an instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source. This definition applies to texts published in print or on-line, to manuscripts, and to the work of other student writers" (WPA).
Jones, Lars. Academic Integrity & Academic Dishonesty: A Handbook About Cheating & Plagiarism. 2011. Web. Recommended handbook on plagiarism for Florida Tech students and faculty.
WPA (The Council of Writing Program Administrators). Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism: The WPA Statement on Best Practices.