Plagiarism means the act of intentionally or unintentionally trying to pass off someone else’s words, ideas or images as your own. When referring to others’ ideas, you must give proper credit. Without doing this, you are stealing. Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty and it is wrong.

Is Plagiarism a Big Problem?

In the age of the Internet, it has become increasingly easy just to copy and paste others’ work. Plagiarism existed before the Internet, of course, but having to copy by hand took more effort.


Why Shouldn’t I Plagiarize?

  • Plagiarism is dishonest and illegal: stealing an idea is as bad as stealing a thing
  • People who plagiarize fail to learn: learning how to research and how to learn through research is very powerful: stealing ideas means you’ve missed the opportunity to learn
  • Students who submit plagiarized work may face a variety of penalties, such as detention, suspension or exemption from scholarship eligibility. Students may also be required to demonstrate their understanding in another activity or assignment.

Why Do People Plagiarize?

Knowledge Reasons

People who plagiarize often:

  • don’t understand what plagiarism is, and why it is wrong
  • don’t understand how to take effective, concise notes
  • have difficulty summarizing information effectively
  • have difficulty distinguishing descriptive language or opinion from facts
  • don’t know when to cite sources, and how to do this properly

Work Habit Reasons

People who plagiarize often:

  • have difficulty managing time, and end up completing work at the last minute
  • don’t make a work plan, or don’t stick to the plan they’ve made
  • experience difficulty handling stress and competition, and choose to handle these by cheating
  • don’t value their own opinions and abilities

Avoiding Plagiarism

As you research and write:

  • Take careful and concise notes
  • Pay attention to language: distinguish between factual information and language that contains opinion, elaborate description or metaphors
  • Accurately record your sources
  • Accurately record quotations or paraphrased information, and cite the source
  • Record your own thoughts and ideas as you research
  • Give yourself time to research thoroughly, think through your own ideas about the topic, and fulfill the requirements of the assignment

More Help