Answered By: APUS Librarians Last Updated: Jul 28, 2017 Views: 4126
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. It's important to understand what constitutes plagiarism, so that you can avoid it. The following list from the APUS Academic Dishonesty Policy outlines examples that frequently come up in writing assignments:
- Presenting statistics, facts, or ideas that are not your own, or are not common knowledge, without citation.
- 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.
- Citing a source with fake bibliographical information.
- Selling or purchasing (or copying) papers, assignments, or exams from another student, or from any website that buys or sells them. This also applies if only partially used in student submission.
- 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.
The best way to avoid plagiarism in your writing is to be mindful about your sources during the research and writing process:
- Carefully keep track of your research before you write. A research journal and citation management tool can be a big help.
- Make sure you paraphrase or quote your sources correctly as you write.
- Double-check that you've correctly cited all of your sources after you write. (Use your style guide!)