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Plagiarism Prevention Guide: What is Plagiarism?

This guide helps first year students how to avoid the pitfalls of plagiarism.

What is Plagiarism?

Austin Community College Library website


According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary


pla·gia·rism … is: the act of using another person's words

or ideas without giving credit to that person”

When do we cite?

  • Alive or dead, it does not matter.  If it is not your own idea, you must cite your source!
  • If it is available on the Internet it still needs credit
  • You may even have to cite yourself.  If you created a work for previous paper or presentation, and you are using it again, you must cite your previous work

What about Paraphrasing?

  • Paraphrasing requires citation
  • Paraphrasing is more than simply rewording the original material, it must be almost entirely in your own words
  • Any exact words that are retained should have quotation marks around them
  • The sentence structure should be yours, not the same as  in the source
  • Do not add ideas, interpretations, explanations, or assessments

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What is Plagiarism?

According to PlAGIARISM.ORG


all of the following are considered plagiarism:

  • Presenting someone else's work as your own
  • Copying words or ideas from someone else's work without giving credit
  • Failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • Giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • Changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
  • Copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not

When do we cite?

  • When you use words or ideas presented in a magazine, book, newspaper, song, TV program, movie, Web page, computer program, letter, advertisement, or any other medium
  • When you got the information through interviewing or conversing with another person, face to face, over the phone, or in writing
  • When you copy the exact words or a unique phrase
  • When you reprint any diagrams, illustrations, charts, pictures, or other visual materials
  • When you reuse or repost any electronically-available media, including images, audio, video, or other media

Why Plagiarism MUST be avoided?

  • Plagiarism is theft of intellectual property
  • Plagiarism involves both stealing someone else's work and lying about it afterward
  • Plagiarism may result in receiving an ‘F’ or zero for the assignment

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