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Writing & Citing: Plagiarism


Many people think of plagiarism as copying another's work or borrowing someone else's original ideas. But terms like "copying" and "borrowing" can disguise the seriousness of the offense:

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, to "plagiarize" means:

  • to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own
  • to use (another's production) without crediting the source
  • to commit literary theft
  • to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source

In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else's work and lying about it afterward.


There are two types of plagiarism.

Intentional plagiarism: knowingly cheating or intentionally presenting someone else's ideas, research, or words as your own.

Unintentional plagiarism: not giving proper credit for someone else's ideas, research, or words even if you did not intend to present them as your own.

                                          From Holy Family University Library Libguide “Citing Sources: Intentional & Unintentional Plagiarism.”

Plagiarism – the act of submitting words, ideas, or work as one’s own for academic exercise. Examples of plagiarism include but are not limited to:

  1. Failing to provide adequate citations to the sources for ideas, words, images, sounds and any other supporting material for any academic exercise.
  2. Copying and pasting, downloading, or importing any electronic material into work submitted for academic assessment without properly citing its source.
  3. Using copyrighted material in violation of U.S. Copyright law.

What Is Citation?

A "citation" is the way you tell your readers that certain material in your work came from another source. It also gives your readers the information necessary to find that source again, including:

·information about the author
·the title of the work
·the name and location of the company that published your copy of the source
·the date your copy was published
·the page numbers of the material you are borrowing


When do I need to cite?

Whenever you borrow words or ideas, you need to acknowledge their source. The following situations almost always require citation:

•whenever you use quotes
•whenever you paraphrase
•whenever you use an idea that someone else has already expressed
•whenever you make specific reference to the work of another
•whenever someone else's work has been critical in developing your own ideas
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