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Research: Plagiarism


Many people think of plagiarism as copying another's work or borrowing someone else's original ideas. But terms like "copying" and "borrowing" can disguise the seriousness of the offense:


  • to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own
  • to use (another's production) without crediting the source
  • to commit literary theft
  • to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source

In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else's work and lying about it afterward.

10 Types of Plagiarism

Council of Writing Program Administrators

What Constitutes Plagiarism?

  Verbatim plagiarism   Mosaic plagiarism   Inadequate paraphrase 
  Uncited paraphrase   Uncited quotations   Using material from another student's work

Click above to see Harvard University's Information on Plagiarism types.

Harvard University Defines "The Exception" to Plagiarism

 Common Knowledge

The only source material that you can use in an essay without attribution is material that is considered common knowledge and is therefore not attributable to one source. Common knowledge is information generally known to an educated reader, such as widely known facts and dates, and, more rarely, ideas or language. Facts, ideas, and language that are distinct and unique products of a particular individual's work do not count as common knowledge and must always be cited. Figuring out whether something is common knowledge can be tricky, and it's always better to cite a source if you're not sure whether the information or idea is common knowledge. If you err on the side of caution, the worst outcome would be that an instructor would tell you that you didn't need to cite; if you don't cite, you could end up with a larger problem.
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Best Practices for Ensuring Originality in Written Work