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Plagiarism Tutorial: 1. What is Plagiarism?

This guide explains what plagiarism is, why it's important, and how to avoid it.

1.1 What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is considered a form of intellectual theft and fraud. It involves using someone else's words or ideas and passing them off as your own by not providing credit, either deliberately or accidentally. However, it can also involve reusing your own work from a previous course, and passing it off as new work.

Plagiarism can include:

  • Copying and pasting from a source without enclosing the text in quotation marks and providing a citation.
  • Summarizing or rewording someone else's ideas without providing a citation.
  • Reusing an assignment you submitted for a previous course.This is called self-plagiarism.
  • Submitting an assignment completed by someone else.
  • Collaborating on an assignment with a classmate or friend on an assignment meant to be completed individually.
  • Writing a paper that strings together quote after quote or paraphrases, even if cited correctly. Your work must include your own original expression of ideas. To add originality to your assignment, include your own critical analysis, interpretation, and examples.
  • Incorrect paraphrasing. When a paraphrase too closely resembles the original it is considered patchwriting. 

Plagiarism can be:

  • accidental - accidental plagiarism happens when you are not sure when to cite, paraphrase or quote. This tutorial is meant to help you understand when you need to cite! 
  • blatant - this type of plagiarism happens when you purposefully use another person's words and try to pass them off as your own.
  • self - self plagiarism occurs when you reuse a paper you wrote in a previous semester for a different course. You must submit original, new work for each course! 

1.2 Plagiarism Quiz #1

Video: The punishable perils of plagiarism

Huseman D'Annunzio, M. [TED-Ed]. (2013, June 14). The punishable perils of plagiarism. [Video file]. Retrieved from 

This video, created by Melissa Huseman D'Annunzio and animated by Hache Rodriguez for TED-Ed summarizes various common forms of plagiarism in a humorous way.

Consider, do any of the forms of plagiarism described in the video surprise you? 

In the video, wholly quotable documents are:
well written articles that you want to quote: 421 votes (29.9%)
papers consisting of no original thought that string together quote after quote: 809 votes (57.46%)
religious texts that are commonly quoted: 178 votes (12.64%)
Total Votes: 1408