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Plagiarism: What is Plagiarism?

This guide is intended to provide the Rowan community with information and resources that will foster a better understanding of plagiarism, clarify its definition, and elucidate strategies for avoiding it.

What is Plagiarism?

As defined in Rowan University's Academic Integrity Policy:

"Plagiarism occurs when a person represents someone else’s words, ideas, phrases, sentences, or data as one’s own work. When submitting work that includes someone else’s words, ideas, syntax, data or organizational patterns, the source of that information must be acknowledged through complete, accurate and specific references. All verbatim statements must be acknowledged through quotation marks. To avoid a charge of plagiarism, a person should be sure to include an acknowledgment of indebtedness, such as a list of works cited or bibliography."

Or, as defined by the International Center for Academic Intergrity:

"Plagiarism occurs when someone:

1. uses words, ideas, or work products
2. attributable to another identifiable person or source
3. without attributing the work to the source from which it was obtained
4. in a situation in which there is a legitimate expectation of original authorship,
5. in order to obtain some benefit, credit, or gain which need not be monetary."

In other words, plagiarism is the intentional, or even the unintentional, presentation of another person's words or ideas as one's own.  As such, plagiarism is a serious offence, carrying serious consequences, but can be avoided through the proper use of in-text citations, the inclusion of accurate and complete bibliographies or works cited pages, and an understanding of how properly to paraphrase, summarize, and/or quote another person's work.

This guide will assist you with understanding all of the above elements related to plagiarism so that you can safely avoid it in your work.   

Short, Humorous Video on Plagiarism

Why is Plagiarism Important?

Besides constituting a serious violation of the Rowan University Academic Integrity Policy, there are many reasons why plagiarism is corrosive to any supportive and vibrant learning community:   

1. Plagiarism deprives those whose work is plagiarized from the credit that they are due. 

2. Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty, even lying, which deprives the student of the chance to develop his or her own thinking, damages the relationship between professor and student, and shows a significant lack of respect for those other students who have completed their own work.

3. Plagiarism is antithetical to the scholarly process of developing new knowledge as well as to the development of students' abilities to become independent, critical thinkers.  

Consequences for committing plagiarism are very serious and can range from failure of the plagiarized assignment to expulsion from the university.  In other words, plagiarism can destroy your academic career.