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Introduction to Academic Integrity

What Is Plagiarism?

The Council of Writing Program Administrators defines plagiarism in an instructional context as "occur[ing] 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."  Plagiarism and citing sources incorrectly are two different situations.  If writers make every effort to cite sources accurately but do not cite adequately or do not use the correct citation style, they are not plagiarizing.  Plagiarism occurs when a writer intentionally takes credit for someone else's ideas or words.

Types of Plagiarism

Plagiarism is perhaps the most common form of academic dishonesty.  However, there are many types of plagiarism, and most plagiarism is not intentional. Frequently, it is the result of taking insufficient notes when reading your sources. Below are several types of plagiarism of which you should be aware.

Accidental Plagiarism

  • Forgetting to place quotation marks around another's words
  • Omitting a source citation for another's idea because you are unaware
  • Carelessly copying a source which you mean to paraphrase

Intentional Plagiarism

  • Copying a phrase, sentence, or passage from a source and passing it off as your own
  • Summarizing or paraphrasing someone else's ideas without acknowledging your debt
  • Handing in a paper you bought or had a friend write or copied from another student

The library has created a graphic representation to show you the range of intentional and unintentional plagiarism activities.

Avoiding Plagiarism

There are many online tools to help you with the research and writing processes.  Learning a few new tips can save you time, lead to better research notes, and help avoid plagiarism.

In addition, consider asking your instructor or professor how you might avoid plagiarism in your work.  It can be difficult to avoid plagiarism without practice and your professor/instructor may have some specific advice to help you in this area.

Plagiarism Tutorials

These instructional tools provide more tips and practice on both recognizing and avoiding plagiarism.  Use these resources to identify what you have already mastered and what skills or concepts you might need to strengthen.