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Northwestern Health Sciences University

Writing & Citing

Use this guide to find tools and resources to help you write more clearly, easily and with confidence.


Plagiarism is submitting work that is not your own, without giving credit to the original author.  This may be as small as copying a single sentence up to an entire assignment.  NWHSU's student code of conduct prohibits this behavior.  Depending on the amount that is copied, it may also be copyright infringement - which is illegal.

When you're working on an assignment you are naturally using information learned from other sources.  It can be hard sometimes to know the right way to use the information you've learned, without plagiarizing.  To avoid plagiarism and submit academic work that you can be proud of:

  1. Cite your source.  If you must use a direct quote, give credit to the author.  Use the Citation resources in this guide for help with formatting.  This is important when reporting facts or figures, which cannot be synthesized or paraphrased.   
  2. Paraphrase the content.  It helps if you do this when you're taking notes.  Record why the information is important and how you might use it, instead of copying the information directly.  Quotes should only be used if there is no better way to state something than in its original form. Learn how to paraphrase and summarize with this resource.
  3. Use a plagiarism checking tool.  This is a good method for confirming that you didn't accidentally copy something word for word.  

Grammarly's Plagiarism Checker

Our premium subscription to Grammarly includes a tool for checking for Plagiarism.  This tool compares the text in your document with sources on the web and in academic databases.  This is a good starting point for helping you see if you accidentally copied, instead of paraphrased or synthesized, the information you read.   Note:  Do not simply look at the total percentage of plagiarism detected.   Look at each match individually and decide if it's a real match and how you can fix it.  

To use Grammarly's Plagiarism tool:

  1. Set-up a premium Grammarly account if you haven't already.  See this page for instructions: 
  2. Log in at to use the full-featured application.
  3. Upload your document to the workspace.
  4. View the document.
  5. Click "Plagiarism" in the lower right corner.

Other Plagiarism Checkers

No plagiarism checker is perfect.  You may want to run your paper through another version to catch things that may be missed.  Here are a few other free versions which may require registration or have limits on how much you can upload.  They're best for occasional use.

  • QueText: Most plagiarism checkers simply look for what is available on websites.  This also searches some academic articles as well.  
  • Scribbr:  Scribbr is a less robust version of Turnitin.  Its free options are limited and it requires you to log in but it catches more plagiarism than most free plagiarism tools.  It gives you an overall score and where plagiarism may have come from.  Unfortunately, unlike checkers, it does not highlight the plagiarized portions in the free version. 

Avoiding Plagiarism Tutorial

Please take these tutorials to learn more about tools used to avoid plagiarism in writing papers.  It is important to know about how to paraphrase, summarize and cite the resources used in your paper.  

The following tutorial is specific to why and how we cite.  This tutorial isn't a step-by-step instruction on how to create citations.  There are too many citation styles and rules for that.  

It's essential you find a tool, like Zotero or Mendeley, or consult a reputable citation guide.  Citation guides offer examples and templates you can use to hand craft your citations.  

You can find links to citation guides and even smaller quick guides in the library's Writing & Citing guide. 

Library Books