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What is Plagiarism?

by Meghan Kowalski on 2021-03-22T09:00:00-04:00 | Comments

Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of the words or ideas of others. Plagiarism also occurs when you misrepresent the work of other people as your own. Essentially, plagiarism is when you use someone else's ideas, information, writing, or thinking without providing the proper citation or attribution.

There are several different types of plagiarism.​

  • Flagrant or deliberate plagiarism - This is when you use someone else's work as your own - on purpose - without giving proper citation or attribution.​
  • Fabrication, falsification, and misrepresentation - This is when you use someone else's work but make a few changes to make it seem different or that it is your own work. It also is when you just make stuff up instead of doing original research or work.​
  • Inappropriate paraphrase or summary - This usually occurs when you forget to include a citation or attribution.​
  • Self-plagiarism - This occurs when you submit the same material more than once (usually to different classes) or, when you take work you've previously done and use it in something new without proper citation.​

​Most plagiarism is unintentional. It occurs when you forget a citation or use an incomplete citation. It also occurs when you assume something is common knowledge but it actually isn't.

The easiest way to avoid plagiarism is to review your work. This means noting whenever you include someone else's ideas, information, writing, or thinking and providing a proper citation or attribution.​ Remember to cite everything - whether it is a direct use – like a quote or reproduction of material – or an indirect use – like a paraphrase or summary. 

There are a lot of things you should cite to avoid plagiarism. This includes:​​

  • Direct quotations from sources.​
  • Facts, data, and information based on other people’s research. ​
  • Paraphrases of another’s work. ​
  • Ideas, opinions, and interpretations that are not your own or that you got from another source. ​
  • Charts, graphs, pictures, images, and raw data that you did not put together yourself. ​
  • Comments from lectures, conversations, and interviews. ​

​Essentially, if you did not write it, think it, or do it you should provide a citation to help you avoid plagiarism.

As you work, make sure to keep citations and attribution in mind to help you avoid plagiarism. Here are some things you can try:

  • Track everything
  • Take notes/highlight
  • Use quotes
  • Introduce sources
  • Cite as your write
  • Review your work

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