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Plagiarism is taking other people's work and passing it off as your own. Plagiarism is bad. How would you feel if someone took your words, images, data, ideas or anything else that belonged to you and pretended it was theirs? Plagiarism is a form of stealing, and as such, it's taken seriously by educational institutions. If you plagiarise and get caught, there may be serious consequences, and not just in college either:
Both Mr. Biden and Herr Guttenburg asserted that their plagiarism was accidental, arising simply from mistakes made during the referencing process, thus revealing just how important it is to reference your sources correctly.
Given the consequences then, perhaps then the definition of plagiarism should be revised to read:
Plagiarism is taking other people's work and passing it off as your own either accidentally or deliberately.
Here are some examples of types of plagiarism:
Copying words, ideas, images or other material from someone else without giving them credit
Failing to cite all of your sources
Failing to provide citations for material because you believe it is "common knowledge" when it actually isn't
Minor paraphrasing of other's work - simply making like-for-like word substitutions, while keeping the sentence structure and flow intact
Not using quotation marks for quotations - this is considered plagiarism even if you reference the source, because the words you have used are not yours
Paraphrasing or summarising others' ideas or words but not citing the source
Stitching together bits and pieces of work from multiple sources, and representing it all as your own original work - this is called "patchwork" plagiarism
Submitting part or all of a piece of your work for multiple assignments, even if it is original and correctly referenced - this is called "self-plagiarism"
There are several ways to avoid plagiarism:
Direct quotation - using quotation marks "" to let your readers know you're using someone else's words
Paraphrasing - rewriting the words of others in your own words and style
Summarising - writing a brief overview of someone else ideas
Always citing your sources - every time you use the words, ideas or any other material that is not your own, you must
provide a citation in the text (author, date) where you use the material
provide a citation in your reference list (full publication details)