Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Academic Integrity

What Is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is representing someone else's ideas, writing or other intellectual property as your own, and is another form of academic dishonesty.

Any use of the work of others, whether published, unpublished or posted electronically (e.g., on web sites), attributed or anonymous, must include proper acknowledgement.

For example, this entire guide was adapted from the University of Alaska, Anchorage's own Academic Integrity tutorial.  Our Library Staff acquired permission from its authors to reproduce their guide and edit it to suit our needs.  Because this information was not all produced at VCSU, we attribute the authorship of this content to the good people at the University of Alaska, Anchorage.  Had we not done this, we would be guilty of plagiarism ourselves.

You may also want to watch the 7.31 minute "Quick Guide to Plagiarism" video on this page. The video was created by Cape Fear Community College, August 25, 2009.

Common Types of Plagiarism

Plagiarism can take many forms. Some of the most common types of plagiarism include:  

  • Downloading or buying research papers (Downloading a free paper from a web site or paying to download a paper and submitting it as your own work)
  • Copying and Pasting (copying and pasting portions of text from online journal articles or websites without proper citation)
  • Copying or submitting someone else′s work (copying a paper/lab report/formula/design/computer code/music/choreography/assignment etc. and submitting it as your own work)

Important: You must use the school, department, or instructor's standards when submitting your work even if you were taught to document your sources differently in the past.

Harris, R. A. (2002). The plagiarism handbook: Strategies for preventing, detecting, and dealing with plagiarism. Los Angeles: Pyrczak Publishing, p. 13.

Final Thoughts about Plagiarism

Ultimately, if you weigh the risks and costs involved in submitting a plagiarized paper, you might consider it a far better strategy to work on improving your research and writing skills to produce honest work. Why not take advantage of the many resources available on campus and on the Internet to help you improve your academic skills.

Please take a few minutes to watch the 'Copyright Perspectives" video (1.52 minutes)  developed by PENN State University before moving on to the next topic in this tutorial: