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Academic Integrity

A guide to help students understand academic integrity and avoid plagiarism.


Flow chart of the types and severity of plagiarism

(Source: Visually)

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the act of using someone else's idea(s) or creative work(s) (e.g., writing, artwork, computer program, etc.) without properly giving them credit. It is the most common type of scholastic dishonesty.

  • Proposing another person's idea(s) as your own.
  • Using the exact text from a book, journal, magazine, or website without giving credit to the source.
  • Using a slightly altered version of the text from a book, journal, magazine, or website without giving credit to the source.
  • Using data from a book, journal, magazine, or website without giving credit to the source.
  • Using fabricated or incorrect citations.
  • Submitting someone else's paper, assignment, project, or presentation as your own.
  • Using artwork or music without giving credit to the source and/or receiving permission.
  • Using an online translator to complete a foreign language paper, assignment, project, or presentation.


Types of Plagiarism

Types of Plagiarism

Plagiarism comes in many forms and can be either intentional or unintentional.

Complete Plagiarism

Submitting the work of someone else (e.g., another student's paper) as your own.

Direct Plagiarism

Using parts of someone else's work without quotation marks and/or citing the source. Also known as "verbatim copying" or "word-for-word plagiarism".

Paraphrased Plagiarism

Restating parts of someone else's work without citing the source.

Mosaic Plagiarism

Joining together parts of and/or ideas from several people's works without properly paraphrasing, using quotations, and/or citing the sources. Also known as "patch writing".

Accidental Plagiarism

Unintentionally neglecting to cite sources, misattributing sources, misquoting, or paraphrasing using too similar wording. Often the result of carelessness or a lack of understanding how to properly cite.


Submitting a paper of yours that was previously submitted in a difference class or using parts of a previously submitted paper of yours without proper citations.

Avoiding Plagiarism

How Do You Avoid Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the most common type of scholastic dishonesty. It is also the most easily avoidable. To avoid plagiarizing, any information borrowed from a source must be formatted by quoting, paraphrasing, or summarizing the information and the source must be cited.


Quotations use the same identical wording as the original source. (Think copying and pasting the text from the source directly into your paper.) Quotation marks (" ") are used to enclose shorter borrowed passages (less than a few lines) whereas a free-standing, indented block of text called a "block quote" is used for longer borrowed passages (more than a few lines).


Paraphrases use your own words to rephrase a passage from the original source. They condense the ideas of and are therefore shorter than the original passage. Keep in mind that reordering the sentences or substituting words is not proper paraphrasing and is considered plagiarism.


Summaries use you own words to recapitulate the main points of the original source as a whole. They are significantly shorter than the original source and are less detailed than paraphrasing.

Citing Sources

Regardless of whether you are using quotations, paraphrases, or summaries, you must include a formal citation with any information you borrow from a source. There are many types of citation types (e.g., footnotes, endnotes, and in-text citations) as well as citation styles (e.g., MLA, APA, and Chicago). Which citation type and style you use will depend on your course and instructor. For help formatting citations, visit our Citation Styles Guide.

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