Answered By: Priscilla Coulter
Last Updated: Jul 28, 2016     Views: 3865

In the simplest terms, plagiarism is copying the words or ideas of others without giving them credit (that is, presenting someone else's work as your own).   It is cheating, and it is theft.

Unfortunately, it can also be easy to do it unintentionally.  College students are constantly reading and learning new things.  Remembering where you encountered a fact or idea can be tricky after dozens of textbook chapters and scholarly articles.  Perhaps you took notes as you read, but forgot to jot down where each note came from.  When you begin writing your discussion post or research paper, it may all blur together.  Or, it may seem easier just to use those copied (or paraphrased) words or thoughts as your own, rather than tracking down your sources.  But the consequences can be dire. 

Click here to learn how to check your work for plagiarism.

The following list from the APUS Student Handbook outlines examples of plagiarism:

  • Using a direct quote from a source and not using quotation marks, in-text citation, and reference.
  • Paraphrasing a source and not using in-text citation and reference.
  • Submitting papers, assignments, exams, or forums that were completed by another student. 
  • Sharing your assignments, exams, or forums with other students.
  • Selling or purchasing (or copying) papers, assignments, or exams from any website that buys or sells them. This also applies if only partially used in student submission.
  • Citing a source with fake bibliographical information.
  • Writing a paper for another student.
  • Submitting a paper, assignment, or exam that you used in previous class and received credit for (even if the topics are the same) without requesting and receiving in writing prior permission from your new instructor. This also applies to “revising” papers, assignments, or exams that were previously submitted.
  • Copying an image, audio, video, spreadsheet, PowerPoint presentation, etc., without proper citation and reference.
  • Working in a group effort without prior written faculty consent.
  • Consulting source materials or other students without prior written faculty consent.
  • Receiving or giving outside help without prior written faculty consent.
  • Altering any information on forms or emails after the original has been submitted.

Learn more about plagiarism and take the Academic Integrity Challenge, in the library's RESOURCES & SERVICES menu.


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