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Plagiarism: What is Plagiarism?

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What is Plagiarism?

The simple definition: Plagiarism is copying an author's work and passing it off as your own.

This definition may seem simple, but plagiarism can be much more complicated.  Did you know that you could be held responsible for plagiarism if you paraphrase (i.e., to put in your own words) an author's work without providing a citation?  Even if you cite your source, if paraphrasing is not done correctly, you could still be plagiarizing.  

Plagiarism takes many forms and the consequences can be severe, so it pays to be well informed.  This guide will help you understand and avoid all forms of plagiarism.

Use the tabs above to navigate through this guide.

Consequences of Plagiarism

Plagiarism may not seem like a big deal, but there can be some severe and/or long lasting effects:

  • Failing grade (assignment and/or course)
  • Note on transcript for academic dishonesty
  • Loss of financial aid
  • Academic probation or expulsion
  • Limited career opportunities (can become a barrier to getting a job or can cause loss of employment)

Why Bother Citing?

The purpose of college-level research is to locate and analyze literature created by experts in your field, then process all of the information that you found to create your own new ideas or conclusions.

Citations are important, because they give credit to the authors who helped you develop your ideas. 

Citations also give your paper authority, because they show that you have read literature on the topic and that your conclusions build upon work of other authors.

When you provide proper citations, your professors will see that you understand the purpose of college-level research.

Plagiarism Resources

Don't Plagiarize

The following websites may help you better understand and avoid plagiarism.  Remember that there are serious consequences for plagiarizing.

Need Help?

For individual research help, schedule an appointment to meet with a librarian.