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Plagiarism   Tags: academic integrity, plagiarism  

Identifying and avoiding plagiarism
Last Updated: Apr 4, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Four Tips for Avoiding Plagiarism

1. First, use your own ideas. Your paper and your ideas should be the focus.

2. Use the ideas of others sparingly--only to support orreinforce your own argument.

3. When taking notes, include complete citation informationfor each item you use.

4. Use quotation marks when directly stating another person's words.


Believe It or Not

Changing the words of an original source is not sufficient to prevent plagiarism. If you have retained the essential idea of an original source, and have not cited it, then no matter how drastically you may have altered its context or presentation, you have still plagiarized.


Pro Tip!

Identify words that you copy directly from a source by placing quotation marks around them, typing them in a different color, or highlighting them. (Do this immediately, as you are making your notes. Don't expect to remember, days or weeks later, what phrases you copied directly.) Make sure to indicate the exact beginning and end of the quoted passage. Copy the wording, punctuation and spelling exactly as it appears in the original!



True Plagiarism is Stealing
Each day we take ideas from others without acknowledging the original source. When we talk about the decline and fall of the Roman Empire or say, "To be or not to be, that is the question" in normal conversation, we rarely give credit to Gibbon and Shakespeare. However, plagiarism in research, taking another’s work and passing it off as your own, is quite different. True plagiarism is stealing.

Take Excellent Notes
Plagiarism often stems from sloppy research and subsequent rewriting rather than a deliberate desire to cheat. Nevertheless, even unintentional failure to cite sources correctly and honestly may constitute plagiarism. Many students mistakenly take bad notes during the research process. They write someone else’s text verbatim on a card or on their computer and forget quotation marks. When they write the paper and refer to their notes, they forget the text on the card or computer is another author’s and not their own. Any reader who recognizes the original text believes that the student has cheated. This can lead to tough penalties.

Golden rule: take excellent notes, utilize them effectively, write the entire paper yourself, and document sources well and honestly!

Self-Plagiarism is Still Plagiarism 
Self-plagiarism occurs when an author reuses portions of their previous writings in subsequent research papers. Occasionally, the derived paper is simply a re-titled and reformatted version of the original one, but more frequently it is assembled from bits and pieces of previous work.




Plagiarism describes the act of copying the ideas, and/or speculations, and/or language of any other person or persons, without acknowledgement, and presenting this material as one's own original work in order to satisfy any academic requirement or complete any academic project. Plagiarism takes place even in the event that a person makes any use of another person's unique and distinctive terminology, whether it be a single word or phrase or extended passage, without acknowledgement. This need not be verbatim use; it is considered plagiarism when a person uses his or her own language to alter the original expression of the ideas or speculations of another person or persons.

Plagiarism also takes place when a person disguises the language of another person or persons by altering the formal elements of the original (e.g., diction, syntax, grammar, punctuation) and submitting it as his or her own, without acknowledgement, to satisfy any academic requirement or complete an academic project.

Plagiarism will be considered to have occurred regardless of the person's intent to deceive.

The following acts are deemed acts of plagiarism, though the list is not exhaustive:

1. Presenting published or unpublished work prepared by others, or dictated by others, as your own, including papers purchased or borrowed from any person or organization;

2. Presenting, as your own, lab reports or exercises copied from or dictated by others;

3. Presenting, as your own, homework assignments of any kind copied from or dictated by others;

4. Presenting, as your own, oral reports copied from or dictated by others;

5. Incorporating formal lecture notes into your own work without acknowledgement and presenting them as your own;

6. Presenting, as your own, a solution developed by someone else;

7. Copying the ideas, and/or speculations, and/or language of any other person or persons, without acknowledgement, and presenting this as one's own work.


Academic Integrity

The following is taken from the International Academy of Design and Technology Course Catalog:


The integrity of academic work is the foundation of an education and is fundamental to the instructional mission. Academic integrity is the condition that makes possible a personal and productive relationship among students, faculty, and staff and it inspires a healthy ambition to reach for high levels of achievement, even distinction. No policy statement can create a standard of integrity where it does not exist, but a public statement of policy on the worth attached to this basic principle can increase awareness of, sensitivity toward, and respect for issues of intellectual honesty and fairness. Therefore, the Institution expects all of its students to exemplify integrity in academic work; that is, to show respect for truth, honesty, and fairness and to deplore counterfeit claims, deceit, and unfair advantage. The Institution holds every student responsible for knowing what academic honesty is and for avoiding breaches of integrity in academic work. Any student who engages in academic dishonesty may be subject to disciplinary action (up to and including dismissal).

Examples of academic dishonesty include, but are not limited to:

Cheating – Cheating includes, but is not limited to, the following: using unauthorized notes, study aids, or electronic or other devices not authorized by the instructor; using or borrowing information from another person, or submitting someone else’s work as one’s own work; using work previously submitted for another purpose, without the instructor’s permission, is prohibited; and duplicated use of copyrighted material in violation of U.S. federal copyright laws will not be tolerated.

  • Plagiarism – Submitting as one’s own work, in whole or in part, words, ideas, art, designs, text, drawings, etc. that were produced by another person without attributing that person as the rightful source of the work. Plagiarism also includes, but is not limited to: using words, word passages, pictures, etc. without acknowledgement; paraphrasing ideas without quotation marks or without citing the source; submitting work that resembles someone else’s beyond what would be considered a tolerable coincidence; ideas, conclusions, or information found on a student paper that the student cannot explain, amplify, or demonstrate knowledge of upon questioning.
  • Copyright Infringement – The right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work is the exclusive right of the copyright owner. One must seek permission from the copyright owner to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. This applies to file-sharing as well. It is an infringement of copyright to download or upload substantial parts of copyrighted work without the authority of the copyright owner. (Section 106 of the Copyright Act, Title 17 of the United States Code)
  • Accessory to Dishonesty – Knowingly and willfully supplying material or information to another person for the purpose of using the material or information improperly.
  • Falsification or Alteration of Records and Official Documents - The following are examples of acts under this category, but the list is not exhaustive: altering academic records; forging a signature or authorization on an academic document; or falsifying information on official documents, grade reports, or any other document designed to attest to compliance with school regulation or to exempt from compliance.
  • Software Code of Ethics – Unauthorized duplication of copyrighted computer software violates the law and is contrary to our Institution’s standards of conduct.


Subject Guide

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Scott Tilton

Common Plagiarism Excuses

Make sure you don't end up having to use one of these Common Excuses for Plagiarism


Pro Tip!

When in doubt, cite your source!


Pro Tips!

When taking notes, include a full citation for the source you are using. This can save you time when you create your works cited page.

When finding articles or pictures, create a document to just keep track of citations and URLs. If you end up not using something, it's easier to delete it from the list then try to go back later and refind all the information!


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