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Plagiarism: Is it Plagiarism?

WHAT IT IS & HOW TO AVOID IT

It *IS* plagiarism if you...

  • copy/paste complete papers from anyone or anywhere
  • copy/paste passages from any source without using quotation marks and citing
  • have someone else write part or all of a paper for you
  • summarize ideas without citing
  • quote sources without using quotation marks and citing
  • paraphrase and change or twist the author's meaning
  • paraphrase without citing
  • quote statistics without citing
  • use words and wording you do not understand
  • self-plagiarize (use one paper for more than one class without the instructor's permission)
  • make up sources
  • make up citations or works cited
  • use photographs, video or audio without permission or acknowledgement
  • translate without citing
  • use any information, whether print, online, slide presentations, media (television, radio, etc.) without citing

It is *NOT* plagiarism if you ...

It is not plagiarism if you use "common knowledge."

Common knowledge is any knowledge that a person can reasonably expect others to know. Anything that is common knowledge does not need to be cited.

Examples of common knowledge:

  • The date of the signing of the Declaration of Independence
  • The composer of a popular song, for instance, that Taylor Swift wrote "Love Story" (but if you use the lyrics, you must cite)
  • The knowledge that there are many Spanish speakers in Florida (but not the percentage of Spanish speakers)

It is not plagiarism if you quote yourself or use material you created, so there is no need to cite if you:

  • write about your own life
  • use your own survey/experiment results
  • use your own art work, photographs, video, audio, etc.

Examples of Plagiarism