Skip to Main Content

COMM 100: The Mass Media and Society

Tiffany Petricini


When you use information in a paper or presentation for a class, you're following the “fair use” doctrine, and you don't need to get permission from the copyright holder. You do, however, need to properly cite the source for any text, images, or other media you use in a class project in order to avoid plagiarism.

Using someone else's thoughts or ideas as your own without properly giving credit is plagiarism. It is your responsibility to understand what plagiarism is and know how to avoid it. Plagiarism is illegal and can:

  • Score you an F on an assignment
  • Get you an F for the course
  • Get you kicked out of school
  • Go on your permanent record

You can avoid plagiarism by citing the information sources you use in your paper or project. Cite your information sources often! Always cite an information source when you use a direct quotation, and you should also cite when paraphrasing (putting information in your own words). You should also cite all the sources used in your paper or project on the "works cited" or bibliography page.

Properly citing the information resources you use does the following:
  • —Gives credit to the information sources you used in your paper;
  • —Allows others to follow the intellectual path you used to reach your conclusions in the paper;
  • —Allows the reader (your instructor) to check the sources for accuracy, existence, etc.; and
  • Guards against plagiarism

For more information about plagiarism and knowing how to guard against it in your work, check out the “Plagiarism & You” handout: