Plagiarism is using someone else's words and ideas in a paper and acting as though they were your own

This definition includes copying someone else's ideas, graphs, pictures, or anything that you borrow without giving credit to the originator of the words and ideas. It definitely includes anything you download from an Internet site or copy out of a book, a newspaper, or a magazine. It also includes stealing the ideas of another person without giving her or him proper credit.

Some obvious examples of plagiarism include

  • copying someone else's paper
  • taking short or long quotations from a source without identifying the source
  • turning in a paper you bought over the Internet

Some less-obvious examples include

  • changing a few words around from a book or article and pretending those words are your own
  • rearranging the order of ideas in a list and making the reader think you produced the list
  • borrowing ideas from a source and not giving proper credit to the source
  • turning in a paper from another class. Whether this is plagiarism or not depends on your instructor-ask first!
  • using information from an interview or an online chat or email, etc., without properly citing the source of the information
  • using words that were quoted in one source and acting and citing the original source as though you read it yourself

The ironic thing about committing plagiarism is that most professors prefer that you use quoted material and properly cite it. They want you to come up with your own ideas in a paper, but will usually give you a good deal of credit for the quality and quantity of outside sources you use as well. Learning how to give credit where credit is due is what this tutorial is all about, so it's time to get started.

Source: Pearson Prentice Hall 2008 - xxxx all rights reserved.

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. ALBERT EINSTEIN