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Avoiding Plagiarism: What is Plagiarism?


plagiarism wordle

What is plagiarism?


"the appropriation or imitation of another's ideas and manner of expressing them, as in art, literature, etc., to be passed off as one's own."
-The MacQuarie Dictionary (2005)

"To represent oneself as the author of some work that is in fact the work of someone else is to plagiarize. Plagiarism may include the “passing off” of the form of the work—for example, the exact words of a piece of writing—or the intellectual content, or both."
-Encyclopedia of Social Problems (2008)

Examples lists several common types of plagiarism:

  • “Turning in someone else's work as your own” (Example: having another student write your term paper, or using a term paper purchased from the Internet).
  • "Copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit”
  • “Failing to put a quotation in quotation marks when quoting something directly in a paper.”
  • “Giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation.” (See Citation Help for resources on how to correctly cite your sources).
  • “Changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit” (This includes paraphrasing)
  • “Copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not.”
  • Using a project from a previous class for a current assignment may also be considered plagiarism. This is referred to as “self-plagiarism.” If you are interested in re-using or modifying an assignment for a class, be sure to ask your instructor.

Plagiarism has serious consequences. Visit the Academic Policies for consequences of academic dishonesty. If you are ever in doubt or have questions, please ask a librarian  or your instructor.