is a very serious offense. According to the Webster's New Collegiate
Dictionary, the definition of plagiarize
is "to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's
own without crediting the source." Many assume that plagiarism is
simply copying a written passage word for word. However, plagiarism
may also include using others' ideas, thoughts, or conversation
in your own paper without citing them; paraphrasing or summarizing
other people's work without citing them; or copying images or text
from the Web. University faculty have access to tools that can easily
help them find and verify information that they may suspect as being
There are several different
types of plagiarism.
- The most obvious form of plagiarism is direct plagiarism, or copying something word for word.
- Sometimes students plagiarize accidentally; this is known as accidental or unintentional
plagiarism. This happens when you don't intend to plagiarize,
but fail to cite sources correctly or copy too much of the source's
original wording while trying to paraphrase or summarize the passage.
Even when you summarize something in your own words, you must
still cite the original source!
- Another type of plagiarism is collusion, which
refers to collaborating with others when working on school assignments
or projects. Examples include allowing others to write or substantially
edit your papers, or using someone else's paper or allowing them
to use your own with permission.
- You are guilty of self-plagiarism if you re-use
your own paper, or even modify a paper you have already written,
in another course, without getting prior approval of both instructors.
Even if you have permission to use a previously written paper,
you still must cite your own previous paper to avoid plagiarism.
To avoid plagiarism, try one of these three approaches to using outside sources:
- Quoting To quote a source correctly, copy
the passage word for word, place those words in quotation marks,
and cite the source in which you found the quote. If you are quoting
lengthy passages (ie. a whole paragraph), use block indentation
and a citation.
- Paraphrasing To paraphrase, restate the information
from a source using your own words. A paraphrased passage will
be about the same length as the original passage. One way to paraphrase
a passage is to use an attributive tag, such as "According to
- Summarizing A summarized passage includes
only the main ideas of a source in your own words, leaving out
specific details. Summaries are typically shorter than paraphrased
passages, and still must be cited.
In general, if you have
any question about whether to cite or not cite, you probably should
cite the source.
(From a Weber State University LibGuide)