What is Plagiarism?

Kent State University defines Plagiarism as:

“To take and present as one's own a material portion of the ideas or words of another or to present as one's own an idea or work derived from an existing source without full and proper credit to the source of the ideas, words, or works.”
(University Policy Register 3342-3-01.8)

Plagiarism, very briefly, is taking another person's ideas and presenting them as if they are your own. This can happen in many ways, including but not limited to, the following:

  • Lifting phrases/sentences/paragraphs/pages from another published source and failing to put quote marks around the lifted material and properly citing the source of the material.
  • Lifting sentences/paragraphs/pages from another published source, changing a few words by substituting synonyms, and not citing the source of the material.
  • Paraphrasing (putting in your own words) another person's ideas and not making it clear that you are paraphrasing another person's ideas.
  • Lifting material from the internet and not citing the website from which you took the information.  Writings/graphs/statistics on the internet are not "author free."  Even if the author of the material is not provided, the internet address should be provided.
  • Unless explicitly stated and allowed by the instructor, all student work is expected to be done individually.  Therefore, working on a paper or project with another student or group of students is prohibited.
  • Relating a story that was told to you as part of an assignment and not citing the source of the story.  Information obtained through interviews with other people need to be correctly cited.

Remember, the instructor thinks that anything you present (paper, project, lab report, portfolio) is your own work.  Anything that is not original to you should be cited as to whose ideas they are.  If you have any questions as to whether what you are doing might be interpreted as plagiarism, ASK YOUR INSTRUCTOR.