Group of students working around a table on laptops. By Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

Information about what plagiarism is, and how you can avoid it.

The University defines plagiarism as follows:

“Presenting work or ideas from another source as your own, with or without consent of the original author, by incorporating it into your work without full acknowledgement. All published and unpublished material, whether in manuscript, printed or electronic form, is covered under this definition, as is the use of material generated wholly or in part through use of artificial intelligence (save when use of AI for assessment has received prior authorisation e.g. as a reasonable adjustment for a student’s disability). Plagiarism can also include re-using your own work without citation. Under the regulations for examinations, intentional or reckless plagiarism is a disciplinary offence.”

The necessity to acknowledge others’ work or ideas applies not only to text, but also to other media, such as computer code, illustrations, graphs etc. It applies equally to published text and data drawn from books and journals, and to unpublished text and data, whether from lectures, theses or other students’ essays. You must also attribute text, data, or other resources downloaded from websites.

Please note that artificial intelligence (AI) can only be used within assessments where specific prior authorisation has been given, or when technology that uses AI has been agreed as reasonable adjustment for a student’s disability (such as voice recognition software for transcriptions, or spelling and grammar checkers).

The best way of avoiding plagiarism is to learn and employ the principles of good academic practice from the beginning of your university career. Avoiding plagiarism is not simply a matter of making sure your references are all correct, or changing enough words so the examiner will not notice your paraphrase; it is about deploying your academic skills to make your work as good as it can be.

Students will benefit from taking an  online course  which has been developed to provide a useful overview of the issues surrounding plagiarism and practical ways to avoid it.

Forms of plagiarism

Verbatim (word for word) quotation without clear acknowledgement Quotations must always be identified as such by the use of either quotation marks or indentation, and with full referencing of the sources cited. It must always be apparent to the reader which parts are your own independent work and where you have drawn on ideas and language from another source.

Cutting and pasting from the Internet without clear acknowledgement Information derived from the Internet must be adequately referenced and included in the bibliography. It is important to evaluate carefully all material found on the Internet, as it is less likely to have been through the same process of scholarly peer review as published sources.

Paraphrasing Paraphrasing the work of others by altering a few words and changing their order, or by closely following the structure of their argument, is plagiarism if you do not give due acknowledgement to the author whose work you are using.

A passing reference to the original author in your own text may not be enough; you must ensure that you do not create the misleading impression that the paraphrased wording or the sequence of ideas are entirely your own. It is better to write a brief summary of the author’s overall argument in your own words, indicating that you are doing so, than to paraphrase particular sections of his or her writing. This will ensure you have a genuine grasp of the argument and will avoid the difficulty of paraphrasing without plagiarising. You must also properly attribute all material you derive from lectures.

Collusion This can involve unauthorised collaboration between students, failure to attribute assistance received, or failure to follow precisely regulations on group work projects. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are entirely clear about the extent of collaboration permitted, and which parts of the work must be your own.

Inaccurate citation It is important to cite correctly, according to the conventions of your discipline. As well as listing your sources (i.e. in a bibliography), you must indicate, using a footnote or an in-text reference, where a quoted passage comes from. Additionally, you should not include anything in your references or bibliography that you have not actually consulted. If you cannot gain access to a primary source you must make it clear in your citation that your knowledge of the work has been derived from a secondary text (for example, Bradshaw, D. Title of Book, discussed in Wilson, E., Title of Book (London, 2004), p. 189).

Failure to acknowledge assistance You must clearly acknowledge all assistance which has contributed to the production of your work, such as advice from fellow students, laboratory technicians, and other external sources. This need not apply to the assistance provided by your tutor or supervisor, or to ordinary proofreading, but it is necessary to acknowledge other guidance which leads to substantive changes of content or approach.

Use of material written by professional agencies or other persons You should neither make use of professional agencies in the production of your work nor submit material which has been written for you even with the consent of the person who has written it. It is vital to your intellectual training and development that you should undertake the research process unaided. Under Statute XI on University Discipline, all members of the University are prohibited from providing material that could be submitted in an examination by students at this University or elsewhere.

Auto-plagiarism You must not submit work for assessment that you have already submitted (partially or in full), either for your current course or for another qualification of this, or any other, university, unless this is specifically provided for in the special regulations for your course. Where earlier work by you is citable, ie. it has already been published, you must reference it clearly. Identical pieces of work submitted concurrently will also be considered to be auto-plagiarism.

Why does plagiarism matter?

Plagiarism is a breach of academic integrity. It is a principle of intellectual honesty that all members of the academic community should acknowledge their debt to the originators of the ideas, words, and data which form the basis for their own work. Passing off another’s work as your own is not only poor scholarship, but also means that you have failed to complete the learning process. Plagiarism is unethical and can have serious consequences for your future career; it also undermines the standards of your institution and of the degrees it issues.

Why should you avoid plagiarism?

There are many reasons to avoid plagiarism. You have come to university to learn to know and speak your own mind, not merely to reproduce the opinions of others - at least not without attribution. At first it may seem very difficult to develop your own views, and you will probably find yourself paraphrasing the writings of others as you attempt to understand and assimilate their arguments. However it is important that you learn to develop your own voice. You are not necessarily expected to become an original thinker, but you are expected to be an independent one - by learning to assess critically the work of others, weigh up differing arguments and draw your own conclusions. Students who plagiarise undermine the ethos of academic scholarship while avoiding an essential part of the learning process.

You should avoid plagiarism because you aspire to produce work of the highest quality. Once you have grasped the principles of source use and citation, you should find it relatively straightforward to steer clear of plagiarism. Moreover, you will reap the additional benefits of improvements to both the lucidity and quality of your writing. It is important to appreciate that mastery of the techniques of academic writing is not merely a practical skill, but one that lends both credibility and authority to your work, and demonstrates your commitment to the principle of intellectual honesty in scholarship.

What happens if you are thought to have plagiarised?

The University regards plagiarism in examinations as a serious matter. Cases will be investigated and penalties may range from deduction of marks to expulsion from the University, depending on the seriousness of the occurrence. Even if plagiarism is inadvertent, it can result in a penalty. The forms of plagiarism listed above are all potentially disciplinary offences in the context of formal assessment requirements.

The regulations regarding conduct in examinations apply equally to the ‘submission and assessment of a thesis, dissertation, essay, or other coursework not undertaken in formal examination conditions but which counts towards or constitutes the work for a degree or other academic award’. Additionally, this includes the transfer and confirmation of status exercises undertaken by graduate students. Cases of suspected plagiarism in assessed work are investigated under the disciplinary regulations concerning conduct in examinations. Intentional plagiarism in this context means that you understood that you were breaching the regulations and did so intending to gain advantage in the examination. Reckless, in this context, means that you understood or could be expected to have understood (even if you did not specifically consider it) that your work might breach the regulations, but you took no action to avoid doing so. Intentional or reckless plagiarism may incur severe penalties, including failure of your degree or expulsion from the university.

If plagiarism is suspected in a piece of work submitted for assessment in an examination, the matter will be referred to the Proctors. They will thoroughly investigate the claim and call the student concerned for interview. If at this point there is no evidence of a breach of the regulations, no further disciplinary action will be taken although there may still be an academic penalty. However, if it is concluded that a breach of the regulations may have occurred, the Proctors will refer the case to the Student Disciplinary Panel.

If you are suspected of plagiarism your College Secretary/Academic Administrator and subject tutor will support you through the process and arrange for a member of Congregation to accompany you to all hearings. They will be able to advise you what to expect during the investigation and how best to make your case. The OUSU Student Advice Service can also provide useful information and support. 

Does this mean that I shouldn’t use the work of other authors?

On the contrary, it is vital that you situate your writing within the intellectual debates of your discipline. Academic essays almost always involve the use and discussion of material written by others, and, with due acknowledgement and proper referencing, this is clearly distinguishable from plagiarism. The knowledge in your discipline has developed cumulatively as a result of years of research, innovation and debate. You need to give credit to the authors of the ideas and observations you cite. Not only does this accord recognition to their work, it also helps you to strengthen your argument by making clear the basis on which you make it. Moreover, good citation practice gives your reader the opportunity to follow up your references, or check the validity of your interpretation.

Does every statement in my essay have to be backed up with references?

You may feel that including the citation for every point you make will interrupt the flow of your essay and make it look very unoriginal. At least initially, this may sometimes be inevitable. However, by employing good citation practice from the start, you will learn to avoid errors such as close paraphrasing or inadequately referenced quotation. It is important to understand the reasons behind the need for transparency of source use.

All academic texts, even student essays, are multi-voiced, which means they are filled with references to other texts. Rather than attempting to synthesise these voices into one narrative account, you should make it clear whose interpretation or argument you are employing at any one time - whose ‘voice’ is speaking.

If you are substantially indebted to a particular argument in the formulation of your own, you should make this clear both in footnotes and in the body of your text according to the agreed conventions of the discipline, before going on to describe how your own views develop or diverge from this influence.

On the other hand, it is not necessary to give references for facts that are common knowledge in your discipline. If you are unsure as to whether something is considered to be common knowledge or not, it is safer to cite it anyway and seek clarification. You do need to document facts that are not generally known and ideas that are interpretations of facts. 

Does this only matter in exams?

Although plagiarism in weekly essays does not constitute a University disciplinary offence, it may well lead to College disciplinary measures. Persistent academic under-performance can even result in your being sent down from the University. Although tutorial essays traditionally do not require the full scholarly apparatus of footnotes and referencing, it is still necessary to acknowledge your sources and demonstrate the development of your argument, usually by an in-text reference. Many tutors will ask that you do employ a formal citation style early on, and you will find that this is good preparation for later project and dissertation work. In any case, your work will benefit considerably if you adopt good scholarly habits from the start, together with the techniques of critical thinking and writing described above.

As junior members of the academic community, students need to learn how to read academic literature and how to write in a style appropriate to their discipline. This does not mean that you must become masters of jargon and obfuscation; however the process is akin to learning a new language. It is necessary not only to learn new terminology, but the practical study skills and other techniques which will help you to learn effectively.

Developing these skills throughout your time at university will not only help you to produce better coursework, dissertations, projects and exam papers, but will lay the intellectual foundations for your future career. Even if you have no intention of becoming an academic, being able to analyse evidence, exercise critical judgement, and write clearly and persuasively are skills that will serve you for life, and which any employer will value.

Borrowing essays from other students to adapt and submit as your own is plagiarism, and will develop none of these necessary skills, holding back your academic development. Students who lend essays for this purpose are doing their peers no favours.

Unintentional plagiarism

Not all cases of plagiarism arise from a deliberate intention to cheat. Sometimes students may omit to take down citation details when taking notes, or they may be genuinely ignorant of referencing conventions. However, these excuses offer no sure protection against a charge of plagiarism. Even in cases where the plagiarism is found to have been neither intentional nor reckless, there may still be an academic penalty for poor practice.

It is your responsibility to find out the prevailing referencing conventions in your discipline, to take adequate notes, and to avoid close paraphrasing. If you are offered induction sessions on plagiarism and study skills, you should attend. Together with the advice contained in your subject handbook, these will help you learn how to avoid common errors. If you are undertaking a project or dissertation you should ensure that you have information on plagiarism and collusion. If ever in doubt about referencing, paraphrasing or plagiarism, you have only to ask your tutor.

Examples of plagiarism

There are some helpful examples of plagiarism-by-paraphrase and you will also find extensive advice on the referencing and library skills pages.

The following examples demonstrate some of the common pitfalls to avoid. These examples use the referencing system prescribed by the History Faculty but should be of use to students of all disciplines.

Source text

From a class perspective this put them [highwaymen] in an ambivalent position. In aspiring to that proud, if temporary, status of ‘Gentleman of the Road’, they did not question the inegalitarian hierarchy of their society. Yet their boldness of act and deed, in putting them outside the law as rebellious fugitives, revivified the ‘animal spirits’ of capitalism and became an essential part of the oppositional culture of working-class London, a serious obstacle to the formation of a tractable, obedient labour force. Therefore, it was not enough to hang them – the values they espoused or represented had to be challenged.

(Linebaugh, P., The London Hanged: Crime and Civil Society in the Eighteenth Century (London, 1991), p. 213. [You should give the reference in full the first time you use it in a footnote; thereafter it is acceptable to use an abbreviated version, e.g. Linebaugh, The London Hanged, p. 213.]


  • Although they did not question the inegalitarian hierarchy of their society, highwaymen became an essential part of the oppositional culture of working-class London, posing a serious threat to the formation of a biddable labour force. (This is a patchwork of phrases copied verbatim from the source, with just a few words changed here and there. There is no reference to the original author and no indication that these words are not the writer’s own.)
  • Although they did not question the inegalitarian hierarchy of their society, highwaymen exercised a powerful attraction for the working classes. Some historians believe that this hindered the development of a submissive workforce. (This is a mixture of verbatim copying and acceptable paraphrase. Although only one phrase has been copied from the source, this would still count as plagiarism. The idea expressed in the first sentence has not been attributed at all, and the reference to ‘some historians’ in the second is insufficient. The writer should use clear referencing to acknowledge all ideas taken from other people’s work.)
  • Although they did not question the inegalitarian hierarchy of their society, highwaymen ‘became an essential part of the oppositional culture of working-class London [and] a serious obstacle to the formation of a tractable, obedient labour force’.1 (This contains a mixture of attributed and unattributed quotation, which suggests to the reader that the first line is original to this writer. All quoted material must be enclosed in quotation marks and adequately referenced.)
  • Highwaymen’s bold deeds ‘revivified the “animal spirits” of capitalism’ and made them an essential part of the oppositional culture of working-class London.1 Peter Linebaugh argues that they posed a major obstacle to the formation of an obedient labour force. (Although the most striking phrase has been placed within quotation marks and correctly referenced, and the original author is referred to in the text, there has been a great deal of unacknowledged borrowing. This should have been put into the writer’s own words instead.)
  • By aspiring to the title of ‘Gentleman of the Road’, highwaymen did not challenge the unfair taxonomy of their society. Yet their daring exploits made them into outlaws and inspired the antagonistic culture of labouring London, forming a grave impediment to the development of a submissive workforce. Ultimately, hanging them was insufficient – the ideals they personified had to be discredited.1 (This may seem acceptable on a superficial level, but by imitating exactly the structure of the original passage and using synonyms for almost every word, the writer has paraphrased too closely. The reference to the original author does not make it clear how extensive the borrowing has been. Instead, the writer should try to express the argument in his or her own words, rather than relying on a ‘translation’ of the original.)


  • Peter Linebaugh argues that although highwaymen posed no overt challenge to social orthodoxy – they aspired to be known as ‘Gentlemen of the Road’ – they were often seen as anti-hero role models by the unruly working classes. He concludes that they were executed not only for their criminal acts, but in order to stamp out the threat of insubordinacy.1 (This paraphrase of the passage is acceptable as the wording and structure demonstrate the reader’s interpretation of the passage and do not follow the original too closely. The source of the ideas under discussion has been properly attributed in both textual and footnote references.)
  • Peter Linebaugh argues that highwaymen represented a powerful challenge to the mores of capitalist society and inspired the rebelliousness of London’s working class.1 (This is a brief summary of the argument with appropriate attribution.) 1 Linebaugh, P., The London Hanged: Crime and Civil Society in the Eighteenth Century (London, 1991), p. 213.

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Harvard Guide to Using Sources 

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How to Avoid Plagiarism

It's not enough to know why plagiarism is taken so seriously in the academic world or to know how to recognize it. You also need to know how to avoid it. The simplest cases of plagiarism to avoid are the intentional ones: If you copy a paper from a classmate, buy a paper from the Internet, copy whole passages from a book, article, or Web site without citing the author, you are plagiarizing. Here's the best advice you'll ever receive about avoiding intentional plagiarism: If you're tempted to borrow someone else's ideas or plagiarize in any way because you're pressed for time, nervous about how you're doing in a class, or confused about the assignment, don't do it . The problems you think you're solving by plagiarizing are really minor compared to the problems you will create for yourself by plagiarizing. In every case, the consequences of plagiarism are much more serious than the consequences of turning in a paper late or turning in a paper you're not satisfied to have written.

"...the consequences of plagiarism are much more serious than the consequences of turning in a paper late..."

The consequences of accidental plagiarism are equally daunting and should be avoided at all costs. Whether or not you intended to plagiarize, you will still be held responsible. As a member of an intellectual community you are expected to respect the ideas of others in the same way that you would respect any other property that didn't belong to you, and this is true whether you plagiarize on purpose or by accident. The best way to make sure you don't plagiarize due to confusion or carelessness is to 1) understand what you're doing when you write a paper and 2) follow a method that is systematic and careful as you do your research . In other words, if you have a clear sense of what question you're trying to answer and what knowledge you're building on, and if you keep careful, clear notes along the way, it's much easier to use sources effectively and responsibly and, most of all, to write a successful paper. If you have questions about plagiarism at any point in your research or writing process, ask. It's always better to ask questions than it is to wait for an instructor to respond to work that you have turned in for a grade. Once you have turned in your final work, you will be held responsible for misuse of sources.

With these principles in mind, here are some guidelines for conducting research responsibly:

Keep track of your sources; print electronic sources

While it's easy enough to keep a stack of books or journal articles on your desk where you can easily refer back to them, it's just as important to keep track of electronic sources. When you save a PDF of a journal article, make sure you put it into a folder on your computer where you'll be able to find it. When you consult a Web site, log the Web address in a separate document from the paper you're writing so that you'll be able to return to the Web site and cite it correctly. You should also print the relevant pages from any Web sites you use, making sure you note the complete URL and the date on which you printed the material. Because electronic sources aren't stable and Web pages can be deleted without notice, beware of directing your readers to sources that might have disappeared. Check when the Web site you're using was last updated and update the URLs as you work and once again right before you submit your essay. If an electronic source disappears before you submit your work, you will need to decide whether or not to keep the source in your paper. If you have printed the source and can turn it in with your paper, you should do so. If you have not printed the source, you should consult your instructor about whether or not to use that source in your paper.

The library has several helpful resources for managing your sources, including RefWorks .

Keep sources in correct context

Whenever you consult a source, you should make sure you understand the context, both of the ideas within a source and of the source itself. You should also be careful to consider the context in which a source was written. For example, a book of essays published by an organization with a political bias might not present an issue with adequate complexity for your project.

The question of context can be more complicated when you're working with Internet sources than with print sources because you may see one Web page as separate from an entire Web site and use or interpret that page without fully understanding or representing its context. For example, a definition of "communism" taken from a Web site with a particular political agenda might provide one interpretation of the meaning of the word—but if you neglect to mention the context for that definition you might use it as though it's unbiased when it isn't. Likewise, some Internet searches will take you to a URL that's just one Web page within a larger Web site; be sure to investigate and take notes on the context of the information you're citing.

Research can often turn out to be more time-consuming that you anticipate. Budget enough time to search for sources, to take notes, and to think about how to use the sources in your essay. Moments of carelessness are more common when you leave your essay until the last minute and are tired or stressed. Honest mistakes can lead to charges of plagiarism just as dishonesty can; be careful when note-taking and when incorporating ideas and language from electronic sources so you always know what language and ideas are yours and what belongs to a source.

Don't cut and paste: File and label your sources

Never cut and paste information from an electronic source straight into your own essay, and never type verbatim sentences from a print source straight into your essay. Instead, open a separate document on your computer for each source so you can file research information carefully. When you type or cut and paste into that document, make sure to include the full citation information for the print source or the full URL and the date you copied the page(s). For Web sources, make sure to cite the page from which you're taking information, which may not necessarily be the home page of the site you're using. Use logical and precise names for the files you create, and add citation information and dates. This allows you to retrieve the files easily, deters you from accidentally deleting files, and helps you keep a log of the order in which your research was conducted. It's a good idea to add a note to each file that describes how you might use the information in that file. Remember: you're entering a conversation with your sources, and accurate file names and notes can help you understand and engage that conversation. And, of course, always remember to back up your files.

Keep your own writing and your sources separate

Work with either the printed copy of your source(s) or (in the case of online sources), the copy you pasted into a separate document—not the online version—as you draft your essay. This precaution not only decreases the risk of plagiarism but also enables you to annotate your sources in various ways that will help you understand and use them most effectively in your essay.

Keep your notes and your draft separate

Be careful to keep your research notes separate from your actual draft at all stages of your writing process. This will ensure that you don't cut language from a source and paste it into your paper without proper attribution. If you work from your notes, you're more likely to keep track of the boundaries between your own ideas and those in a source.

Paraphrase carefully in your notes; acknowledge your sources explicitly when paraphrasing

When you want to paraphrase material, it's a good idea first to paste the actual quotation into your notes (not directly into your draft) and then to paraphrase it (still in your notes). Putting the information in your own words will help you make sure that you've thought about what the source is saying and that you have a good reason for using it in your paper. Remember to use some form of notation in your notes to indicate what you've paraphrased and mention the author's name within the material you paraphrase. You should also include all citation information in your notes.

When you decide to use paraphrased material in your essay, make sure that you avoid gradually rewording the paraphrased material from draft to draft until you lose sight of the fact that it's still a paraphrase. Also, avoid excessive paraphrasing in which your essay simply strings together a series of paraphrases. When the ideas taken from your sources start to blend in deceptively with your own thinking, you will have a more difficult time maintaining the boundaries between your ideas and those drawn from sources. Finally, whenever you paraphrase, make sure you indicate, at each logical progression, that the ideas are taken from an authored source.

Avoid reading a classmate's paper for inspiration

If you're in a course that requires peer review or workshops of student drafts, you are going to read your classmates' work and discuss it. This is a productive way of exchanging ideas and getting feedback on your work. If you find, in the course of this work, that you wish to use someone else's idea at some point in your paper (you should never use someone else's idea as your thesis, but there may be times when a classmate's idea would work as a counterargument or other point in your paper), you must credit that person the same way you would credit any other source. On the other hand, if you find yourself reading someone else's paper because you're stuck on an assignment and don't know how to proceed, you may end up creating a problem for yourself because you might unconsciously copy that person's ideas. When you're stuck, make an appointment with your instructor or go to the Writing Center for advice on how to develop your own ideas.

Don't save your citations for later

Never paraphrase or quote from a source without immediately adding a citation. You should add citations in your notes, in your response papers, in your drafts, and in your revisions. Without them, it's too easy to lose track of where you got a quotation or an idea and to end up inadvertently taking credit for material that's not your own.

Quote your sources properly

Always use quotation marks for directly quoted material, even for short phrases and key terms.

Keep a source trail

As you write and revise your essay, make sure that you keep track of your sources in your notes and in each successive draft of your essay. You should begin this process early, even before you start writing your draft. Even after you've handed in your essay, keep all of your research notes and drafts. You ought to be able to reconstruct the path you took from your sources to your notes and from your notes to your drafts and revision. These careful records and clear boundaries between your writing and your sources will help you avoid plagiarism. And if you are called upon to explain your process to your instructor, you'll be able to retrace the path you took when thinking, researching, and writing, from the essay you submitted back through your drafts and to your sources.

Academic Integrity at MIT logo

Academic Integrity at MIT

A handbook for students, search form, what is plagiarism.

During your academic career at MIT, you will write original papers and give oral presentations that require research in libraries and laboratories and accessing electronic resources. It is important to understand that standards for reusing other people’s creative output vary from discipline to discipline and culture to culture. For example, in the United States our copyright law does not protect ideas or facts, but does protect the particular, original expression of an idea in words or images when they are expressed in a tangible form.

In some cultures, the concept of “owning” words that are arranged in a particular sequence may seem strange. Students from these cultures may have been encouraged to repeat the words of others and incorporate them into their own writing without quoting or otherwise indicating that they came from another source. Other cultures accept the practice of copying phrases or sentences into a paper without using quotation marks as long as the writer shows where they came from. These practices are not acceptable in North American academic culture.

Creative expression of ideas through words, images, and other media is the lifeblood of this academic culture. For this reason, we expect that our original expressions should not be used by others without attribution and acknowledgment.

Plagiarism occurs when you use another’s words, ideas, assertions, data, or figures and do not acknowledge that you have done so.

If you use the words, ideas, or phrasing of another person or from published material, you must

  • Use quotation marks around the words and cite the source, or
  • Paraphrase or summarize acceptably and cite the source.

If you use charts, graphs, data sets, or numerical information obtained from another person or from published material, you must also cite the source.

You must always acknowledge your sources by citing them . In this way, you have the right to use another’s creative output by giving that person credit for the work s/he has done.

Stanford University

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Plagiarism in academic writing: how to identify and avoid it.


In the academic world, plagiarism is considered as a serious offense because stealing the work of another writer is an unacceptable tactic. Today, falling into the plagiarism trap became very easy and even tempting because the Internet has all information that could possibly be needed for a research paper, essay, article, or review. Unfortunately, many students and even some scholars make this mistake every year because a lack of their effort to write original text is easily detected by sophisticated software packages at education institutions.

The punishment for plagiarism offense is quite serious and often results in destroyed academic reputation, zero grade, and even expulsion from the educational institution. These short- and long-term consequences can be a bad influence on your academic career, so considering plagiarism as an option to complete an assignment should really be out of question. Instead of using this option, try some of these great and proven strategies to identify unoriginal content and avoid it in the future.

Strategy 1: Use Anti-plagiarism software

Identifying plagiarism is easy these days. There are a lot of websites that have sophisticated software that detects it in the matter of minutes. This online software is very easy to use: just copy the text you need to check and click “check” button. When the check is completed, you will be provided with a plagiarism report with the percent of the original text and the plagiarized areas will be highlighted for you to change.

Strategy 2: Paraphrasing

This strategy falls into “avoiding” category. Imagine this: you have found the information that is perfect for using in your paper. Instead of copying it, read it to the end to really understand the essence of the text. Now, when you know what the content is about, you can put it into your own words, which will help to avoid having unoriginal text. It is generally advised not to copy more than three or four words from the text without having them paraphrased.

Strategy 3: Quoting

This means that you take a short chunk of text from the source (usually a part of the sentence that has some important information for your topic) and leave it without changes. In many cases, when you need to provide the original definition of the writer or state his or her point of view, it is allowed to have their words quoted. Just put the quotation marks at the beginning and at the end of the quote; for example:

Competitive advantage is defined as “the source of company’s competitiveness” (Johnson, 2016, p. 123).

However, you need to remember that most of the text needs to be paraphrased, so the use of quotes should be significantly limited. Also, citation styles have specific formatting requirements for quotes, so be sure to follow them as well.

Strategy 4: Citing

It is one of the most widely used strategies in the academic world. It is the way of referring to the works of other authors with the use of parenthetical citation. Essentially, citing is conveying the thoughts of others via your own words and giving the credit to them. In addition to academic papers, this method is used in business reports, government agencies’ publications, and other works. Here is the example of APA style citation:

The effectiveness of student motivation is measured by their academic performance (Johnson, 2016).

As you can see in this example, you need to follow the rules of formatting styles as well. Contact your instructor to know which citation style is used by your institution.

Strategy 5: Get help of professionals

If you are short on time to deliver an academic work due to personal or other reasons, consider using the help of professional writing services. They hire writers with relevant academic background in particular areas to deliver the best work for the customers and, more importantly, provide original texts with plagiarism reports to prove that the text was not plagiarized. Of course, it is better to develop your academic writing skills by yourself but there is no shame in using the services of professionals when you are short on time.

The Bottom Line

Plagiarism is unprofessional, illegal, and disregarding, so avoiding it at all cost is the best possible strategy for modern students. Professors often say that it is better to miss the deadline rather than submit a plagiarized assignment and they are totally right about that. Fortunately, there are a number of strategies you can utilize to avoid plagiarizing the text that is widely recognized in the academic community.

Use these strategies to make sure your academic career advances with every written assignment you make. Besides, following academic integrity rules will also contribute to your professional career because you will develop appropriate work ethics that appreciates originality and quality of work.

Scott Ragin is a qualified educator, author and scholar. He is experienced in classroom teaching, training teachers and leaders and advising academic researchers. Scott provides assignment help at Aussiewriter and covers different topics concerning higher education and  educational technology. Feel free to contact him at Facebook .

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Correcting the Scholarly Record for Research Integrity pp 59–89 Cite as

What Is Academic Plagiarism?

  • M. V. Dougherty 5  
  • First Online: 10 November 2018

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Part of the book series: Research Ethics Forum ((REFF,volume 6))

This chapter defends a fourfold heuristic for determining when academic plagiarism has occurred. Drawing from contemporary literature on research integrity, I propose that academic plagiarism has been committed when there is: (1) a non-trivial appropriation of words, images, or formulas, (2) with inadequate credit, (3) that generates an appearance of original authorship, (4) in a discrete item belonging to the scholarly record. This approach is sufficiently general to include a wide range of text manipulations, and yet it is sufficiently narrow to express to the particularities of plagiarism in the context of published research findings. In defending this heuristic, I argue that intent is not required for academic plagiarism, and I propose that academic plagiarism should be treated as a strict-liability offense. The presence or absence of a guilty mind or mens rea is irrelevant to the need to correct the scholarly record when publications themselves are deficient. Intent may be an important element to be considered by institutions that have the role of investigating and punishing wrongdoers for scientific misconduct, but intent should be considered immaterial by members of the research community who have the privilege and responsibility of maintaining the reliability of publications for the world of learning. Too often the role of correcting the scholarly record is conflated with the role of investigating and issuing punishments for research misconduct, but the two are quite different. The chapter also considers the topic of duplicate or redundant publication (often called “self-plagiarism”), and it distinguishes academic plagiarism from copyright violation.

  • Academic plagiarism
  • Self-plagiarism
  • Research misconduct

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Critics have provided a diagnosis of the false academy’s basic elements, which include: diploma mills (Contreras and Gollin 2009 ), vanity conferences (Grove 2017 ; Carey 2016 ), predatory and vanity publishers (Kurt 2018 ; Beall 2016a , 2018 ; Pyne 2017 ; Darbyshire et al. 2017 ; Beninger et al. 2016 ; Djuric 2015 ; Stevenson 2004 ), fraudulent impact factors (Gutierrez et al. 2015 ), non-discriminating article databases (Beall 2018 : 293), retraction charges by dubious publishers (Cobey 2017 ; McCook 2016 ), the purchase of fraudulent editorial board memberships (Beall, 2016c ), and the phenomenon of journal highjacking (Dadkhah and Borchardt 2016 ).

The concept of ‘remixing’ has antecedents in the medieval notions of authorship discussed earlier in this chapter.

The maxim is commonly attributed to Pseudo-Dionysius , as expressed in De divinis nominbus , IV.30. For an account of this maxim, see Bretzke ( 2013 : 26–27).

An updated catalogue of QRP s is offered in Bouter et al. ( 2016 ).

Retractions of publications on ethical topics on the basis of authorship violations are not as uncommon as one might expect. Another distinctive case involves the retraction of a book chapter titled “On the Role and Function of Ethics Committees” that was issued by the publisher “due to proven plagiarism by the author” (Anonymous 2015 : E1). See also the retraction of the article titled “Truth, Deception, and Lies” that was issued due to “serious plagiarism” (Visker 2010 : 5–6). For other examples, see Anonymous ( 2013b , 2010b , c).

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  • Indian J Orthop
  • v.50(6); Nov-Dec 2016

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What is plagiarism and how to avoid it?

Ish kumar dhammi.

Department of Orthopaedics, UCMS and Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, New Delhi, India

Rehan Ul Haq

Writing a manuscript is an art. Any clinician or an academician, has a hidden desire to publish his/her work in an indexed journal. Writing has been made mandatory for promotions in certain departments, so the clinicians are more inclined to publish. Often, we note that we (Indian Journal of Orthopaedics) receive more articles from China, Turkey, and South Korea (abroad) instead of from our own country though the journal is an official publication of Indian Orthopaedic Association. Therefore, we have decided to encourage more and more publications, especially from our own country. For that reason, we have decided to educate our members by publishing an editorial on “How to write a paper?,” which is likely to be published soon. In one of our last editorials, we discussed indexing. In this issue, we will be discussing the plagiarism. In forthcoming issues, we are planning to discuss “Ethics in publication,” How to write Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion, Referencing, Title, Abstract, and Keywords, and then how to write case report which is acceptable. The editorial team tries to help out our readers, so that their hidden instinct of writing their own work could be made true.


Plagiarism is derived from Latin word “ plagiarius ” which means “kidnapper,” who abducts the child. 1 The word plagiarism entered the Oxford English dictionary in 1621. Plagiarism has been defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica as “the act of taking the writings of another person and passing them off as ones own.” 2 It is an act of forgery, piracy, and fraud and is stated to be a serious crime of academia. 3 It is also a violation of copyright laws. Honesty in scientific practice and in publication is necessary. The World Association of Medical Editors 4 (WAME) defines plagiarism as “… the use of others’ published and unpublished ideas or words (or other intellectual property) without attribution or permission and presenting them as new and original rather than derived from an existing source.”

In 1999, the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) 5 , 6 defined plagiarism as “Plagiarism ranges from the unreferenced use of others’ published and unpublished ideas including research grant applications to submission under new authorship of a complex paper, sometimes in a different language. It may occur at any stage of planning, research, writing or publication; it applies to print and electronic versions.”


  • Verbatim plagiarism: When one submits someone else's words verbatim in his/her own name without even acknowledging him publically. Copy and paste from a published article without referencing is a common form of verbatim plagiarism. Most commonly, it is seen in introduction and discussion part of manuscript 2 , 7
  • Mosaic plagiarism: In this type of plagiarism each word is not copied but it involves mixing ones own words in someone else's ideas and opinions. This is copying and pasting in patchy manner 2
  • Paraphrasing: If one rewrites any part/paragraph of manuscript in his/her own words it is called paraphrasing. Paraphrasing is a restatement in your own words, of someone else's ideas. Changing a few words of the original sentences does not make it your writing. Just changing words cannot make it the property of borrower; hence, this should be properly referenced. If it is not referenced, it will amount to plagiarism
  • Duplicate publication: When an author submits identical or almost identical manuscript (same data, results, and discussion) to two different journals, it is considered as duplicate (redundant) publication. 9 As per COPE guidelines, this is an offense and editor can take an action as per the COPE flowchart
  • Augmented publication: If the author adds additional data to his/her previously published work and changes title, modifies aim of the study, and recalculates results, it amounts to augmented publication. Plagiarism detection software usually do not pick it because it is not same by verbatim. This self plagiarism is as such technical plagiarism and is not considered with same strictness as plagiarism. The editor may consider it for publication in the following three situations: If author refers to his/her previous work; if ’methods’ cannot be written in any other form; and if author clearly states that new manuscript contains data from previous publication 10
  • Segmented publication: Also called “Salami-Sliced” publication. In this case, two or more papers are derived from the same experimental/research/original work. Salami-sliced papers are difficult to detect and usually are pointed out by reviewers or readers. The decision regarding such manuscript is again on editor's shoulder. The author must be asked to refer to his/her previously published work and explain reasonably the connection of the segmented paper to his/her previously published work
  • Text recycling: If the author uses large portions of his/her own already published text in his/her new manuscript, it is called text recycling. It can be detected by plagiarism software. It can be handled as per the COPE guidelines.
  • Cyber plagiarism: “Copying or downloading in part or in their entirety articles or research papers and ideas from the internet and not giving proper attribution is unethical and falls in the range of cyber plagiarism” 2
  • Image plagiarism: Using an image or video without receiving proper permission or providing appropriate citation is plagiarism. 7 “Images can be tampered on support findings, promote a specific technique over another to strengthen the correctness of poorly visualized findings, remove the defects of an image and to misrepresent an image from what it really is”? 11


It is generally difficult to detect plagiarism, but information technology has made available few websites which can detect/catch plagiarism. Few of them are , , , etc. 12

Besides this, learned and watchful reviewers and readers can detect it due to his/her familiarity with published material in his/her area of interest.


Practice the ethical writing honestly. Keep honesty in all scientific writings. Crediting all the original sources. When you fail to cite your sources or when you cite them inadequately, you commit plagiarism, an offense that is taken extremely seriously in academic world and is a misconduct. Some simple dos and don’ts 5 are outlined in Table 1 .

Dos and don’ts of plagiarism

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In the following situation, permission is required to use published work from publisher to avoid plagiarism. 8

  • Directly quoting significant portion of a published work. How much text may be used without approaching publisher for permission is not specified. The best approach is whenever in doubt, ask for permission
  • Reproducing a table
  • Reproducing a figure/image.


Plagiarism is considered academic dishonesty and breach of ethics. Plagiarism is not in itself a crime but can constitute copyright infringement. 7 In academia, it is a serious ethical offense. Plagiarism is not punished by law but rather by institutions. Professional associations, educational institutions, and publishing companies can pose penalties, suspensions, and even expulsions of authors. 7

As per the COPE guidelines, “If editors suspect misconduct by authors, reviewer's editorial staff or other editors then they have a duty to take action. This duty extends to both published and unpublished papers. Editors first see a response from those accused. If the editors are not satisfied with the response, they should ask the employers of the authors, reviewers, or editors or some other appropriate body to investigate and take appropriate action.” 6

If the editor is satisfied that the act of plagiarism has taken place, minimum he should do is “reject” the manuscript if it is in different stage of editorial process and “retract” if it is already published.

To conclude, we must increase awareness about plagiarism and ethical issues among our scientists and authors. We must be honest in our work and should not violate copyright law. There should be serious steps against authors, which should bring disrespect to author and even loss of his academic position.

We will end it by quote of Albert Einstein “Many people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist, they are wrong, it is the character.”


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Plagiarism Overview 

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Plagiarism  is  using  someone else’s ideas or words without giving them proper credit.  Plagiarism can range from unintentional (forgetting to include a source in a bibliography) to intentional (buying a paper online, using another writer’s ideas as your own to make your work sound smarter). Beginning writers and expert writers   alike can all plagiarize.  Understand that plagiarism is a serious charge in academia, but also in professional setting s . 

If you are...

  • a student — consequences can include failing grades on assignments or classes, academic probation, and even expulsion.
  • a researcher — plagiarism can cause a loss of credibility, legal consequences, and other professional consequences.
  • an employee in a corporate or similar setting — you can receive a reprimand or lose your job.

It is important to recognize that standards and conventions for citing sources vary from the classroom to scholarly publishing to the professional sphere, sometimes very widely, but in all  situations  we must attribute other people’s words and ideas to their appropriate source.

Please note:  This resource, which does not reflect any official university policy, is designed to help you develop strategies for knowing how to avoid accidental plagiarism. For instructors seeking a key statement on definitions and avoidance on plagiarism, see  Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism: The WPA Statement on Best Practices .  

In addition, there is a one page handout available that provides an overview of plagiarism with answers to common questions asked about how to avoid it.

Intellectual Challenges in American Academic Writing

There are some intellectual challenges that all students are faced with when writing. Sometimes these challenges can almost seem like contradictions, particularly when addressing them within a single paper.   

For example, American teachers often instruct students to:  

  • Develop a topic based on what has already been said and written   BUT write something new and original.  
  • Rely on experts’ and authorities’ opinions BUT build upon and/or disagree with those opinions.
  • Give credit to previous researchers BUT make your own significant contribution.  
  • Improve your English to fit into a discourse community by building upon what you hear and read BUT use your own words and your own voices.  

This may sound confusing, however, something simple to keep in mind when it comes to research is: You are not reinventing the wheel, you are simply contributing in a significant way. For beginners, this can be a challenge, but once you start to see that there is a pattern that is unique to you, you will find that plagiarism is not needed. Remember — your professor or your supervisor want your ideas to build on what is already established or familiar and NOT to simply repurpose someone else’s ideas and calling it your own.   

Why is understanding this so important? Plagiarism is not a victimless crime. Someone, including yourself, will get hurt. no longer supports Internet Explorer.

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Personalized Writing Help When You Need it

Unintentional plagiarism, grammar mistakes, and uncited sources  can turn what you thought was a good paper into a poor one. When you’re writing a paper the last thing you want is for your message to get lost due to incorrect punctuation or confusing sentence structure. You know that the great ideas in your head would make for a standout paper, if only you could get them written clearly on the page. If this struggle sounds familiar, you’re not alone.

Great ideas may be an essential part of high-quality writing, but they’re not the only component. Excellent papers and essays clearly express strong ideas with good grammar, proper punctuation, spot-on spelling, and thorough, careful citations. While this may sound like a lot, your teachers and professors are grading you on your skills as both a writer and a researcher, which means your assignments will require an ethical and attentive approach. Luckily, there is no shortage of available tools to help you along your way.

You could use a plagiarism checker free, though, these tools often lack grammatical support. Given the high stakes and rigorous requirements, the aid of a plagiarism checker without the needed support of a grammar checker could mean the difference between an “A” paper and a “C” or even “D” paper.

Thankfully, the EasyBib Plus plagiarism tool provides all-in-one support to cover all your bases. Our premium essay checker is convenient, easy to use, and includes access to a grammar and spell checker, plus a plagiarism checker. With a single scan, you’ll receive personalized feedback to help identify potentially missing citations and help improve your sentence structure, punctuation, grammar, and more.

Not sure if that noun is spelled correctly, or if the preposition at the end of your sentence is grammatically correct? The EasyBib Plus plagiarism tool is your one-stop shop to help check plagiarism, get grammatical suggestions, correct spelling and punctuation errors, and help create polished papers you can be proud to turn in. And, we haven’t told you the best part yet: you can try our tool free and scan your work for grammar suggestions right now!

Access all the tools today!

academic plagiarism essay

A Grammar Check for Peace of Mind

You know that grammar plays a significant role in your assignments. Not only does it factor into your overall grade, but without clear and precise language, your ideas can lose their impact or might even be misunderstood entirely. Still, with so many different parts of speech and rules to learn and apply, it’s not uncommon to get them mixed up and find yourself questioning your knowledge now and again:

Can you use an adverb to modify a noun? (No. You need an adjective for that.)

Well, can you use it to modify a pronoun ? (Still no.)

What do they modify, then? (Almost everything else. Fun, right?)

Ugh. (That was an interjection .)

Does this have to be so difficult? (Nope!)

Scanning your paper with the EasyBib Plus writing tool delivers more than the basic punctuation and spell check functions that come standard in word processing programs. You’ll receive immediate, targeted feedback that can help improve the sentence structure and style of your writing. Not only can this help ensure that you don’t lose points off your grade for grammatical errors such as mismatched verb tense, but it can also help to clarify your meaning and strengthen your arguments by eliminating confusing punctuation and run-on sentences that confuse readers.

Reviewing your work to correct errors and refine the flow of your writing is a critical part of the revision process for novices and novelists alike. Even the most conscientious of wordsmiths might make mistakes, such as using a conjunctive adverb in place of a coordinating conjunction or pairing a plural determiner with an uncountable word. They likely appreciate a subscription-based or free grammar check as much as a beginning writer. That’s why the EasyBib Plus writing tool is designed for all writers, from students who are still learning the fundamentals to published professionals who get paid by the word.

The EasyBib Plus writing tool provides quick, targeted feedback that you can use to help improve your writing immediately. Also, our free resource library is available 24/7, just like the rest of our tools, to help you brush up on the areas that challenge you the most (Conjunctive what? Uncountable who?) That means you can continue to sharpen your skills and improve your writing over time, which will help make finishing your next project easier.

Ready to give your paper a boost? Sign up for EasyBib Plus or scan a paper right now for a free spell check—it’s easy!Just upload or copy and paste your paper to the online grammar check tool and, in a matter of seconds, you’ll be able to receive up to 5 feedback cards so you can begin polishing your draft.

To learn more about proofreading tools, you can find more info here. Or, for more tips on grammar, punctuation, and style, check out this useful reference .

Why is Grammar So Important, Anyway?

Why is grammar important? As long as others know what you mean, does it really matter if you use proper grammar? These are age-old questions, but the answers remain unchanged. Grammar is important for many reasons:

Communication:  Communication is about more than merely listening and talking. We communicate in myriad ways: with our voices, our mannerisms, our facial expressions, our actions, and frequently, our written words. Written communication is just as important as all the other ways we broadcast our thoughts and feelings. Unlike our other communication methods, though, written communication leaves a record. While most of us relax our style when talking to or texting friends, the fact remains that more formal venues require a more formal tone. Proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation are a necessary element of professional and academic writing, so running your work through a spelling and grammar check before you submit it is an absolute must.

Clarity:  Expressing your thoughts, ideas, and opinions is an uphill battle when you communicate them with less-than-stellar punctuation, spelling, and grammar. A missing or misplaced comma, for example, can entirely change your meaning:

  • Call me Ishmael = My name is Ishmael.
  • Call me, Ishmael = I want Ishmael to call me.

Spelling errors can result in similarly muddled meaning:

  • Her shoes perfectly complemented her dress. = Her shoes and dress go well together.
  • Her shoes perfectly complimented her dress. = Her shoes can both speak and engage in flattery.

Grammar deficiencies such as a dangling modifier yield similarly confusing results:

  • I saw the girl’s purple backpack in the library. = The purple backpack belonging to the girl is in the library; I saw it.
  • I saw the purple girl’s backpack in the library. = You know the girl who mysteriously turned purple? I saw her backpack in the library. This week has not been easy on her.

Credibility: Establishing your credibility is critical whether you’re writing for school or business. Proving that you can reliably communicate using proper grammar is essential to establishing and maintaining the trust of your teachers, professors, readers, customers, and colleagues.

To learn even more about the importance of English grammar in writing, check here .

What Happens After I Upload My Paper?

Once you upload a paper, the EasyBib Plus grammar checker scans your text and highlights grammar issues within your document so you can see it in context. For users running a grammar check and spell check using the grammar check free tool, up to the first 5 issues are shown. For subscription subscribers, all of the areas that require your review will be highlighted once the scan is complete.

No matter which version of the tool you’re using, your feedback will include detailed explanations so you can understand why the text was flagged. Other highlighted areas will include examples of how the issues can be fixed. Some will include a detailed explanation as to why the issue was flagged. This personalized feedback allows you to make an educated decision about whether to edit your text or dismiss the suggestion, so you’re always in control of your final draft.

Subscription users also have the plagiarism checker at their disposal when scanning their papers for style and grammar suggestions. Just as with our other writing tools, when you use the tool to check plagiarism, changes are never made without your review, so you are always in the driver’s seat. You can review each highlighted area as well as the sources of matching text and will always be given a choice to either accept or ignore both citation and grammar suggestions.

Whether you are a student or a professional, the EasyBib Plus tools are powerful allies that can help you improve your paper, establish credibility as a writer, and maintain an ethical writing process.

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academic plagiarism essay

Check for Unintentional Plagiarism

Persistent use of the best grammar checker and spell checker you can find will help to shape up the style and substance of your composition. However, to ensure the integrity of your work and root out unintentional instances of academic dishonesty, you’ll also need to incorporate a subscription-based or free plagiarism checker for students.

The ability to scan your paper and check plagiarism and grammar before submitting your work is an invaluable tool for students. It’s so valuable, in fact, that students are not the only ones who consistently use this type of software.

Many teachers and professors use a service to ensure that student papers are original and include properly formatted and sourced citations for all reference materials. For some, this may be a consistent element of their grading process, while others may utilize one only when they feel there is a reason to do so.

What Exactly Does a Plagiarism Checker Do?

If you’ve used an online plagiarism checker before, you may be familiar with the process that these tools employ. For those who have never used one, it can be helpful to understand how these tools work and what you should expect as a result of using one.

The most basic free tools will scan your paper and provide you with a percentage that indicates how much of your work is original. This feature can be useful to a point, as some instructors and institutions set a percentage for the amount of similar text that is considered acceptable. This policy does not mean that they are lenient about academic dishonesty but, instead, that they recognize that similar or even matching word choice is not always an indicator of copying.

However, some schools do not tolerate any form of incremental plagiarism, period. In these institutions, “check paper for plagiarism” is likely a standard action when grading all papers.

With a free plagiarism checker, the percentage of word-for-word plagiarism in your text may be the only feedback you receive. Moreover, some of these providers may wade in unethical waters, and offer essay writing services in conjunction with their checking services. This is why many students and teachers prefer subscription-based checkers that focus on integrity, such as the EasyBib writing tools.

With our premium tools, you get more than just supporting proof that your paper is original and in your own words. Your writing is scanned for potentially matching text and areas that needs your attention is highlighted. We’ll provide you with the source of the matching text so you can review it and decide how to proceed. If you agree that a citation is needed, our citation tools and resources will provide you with the information you need to help format and insert the new sources in your text as well as your works cited page.

How Does the EasyBib Plus Online Plagiarism Checker Work?

The EasyBib Plus writing tool provides an all-in-one spell check, grammar review, and plagiarism checker that not only helps you with the paper you’re writing now but enables you to gain new knowledge and improve your writing for the future, too.

Our essay checker searches online for phrases, sentences, or passages that are similar to those in your paper. If it returns matching text, this may indicate that you have passages that are missing citations.

Just as with many checkers, our tool will tell you how many instances of matching text it finds in your paper. Our plagiarism tool is designed to do more than most free tools, however.

When a portion of your paper is flagged for review, we provide you with the source that it matches. As with our online spell check tool, you have the power to review each area and choose how to proceed. If you decide to cite the flagged text, you can review the suggested source and access our citation tools to help create a proper citation and start building a bibliography for your paper. Or, you may determine that no citation is needed, in which case it’s simple to dismiss the suggestion and continue to the next section.

If you’re unsure about how to proceed, our library of resources can help you learn more and make an educated decision. In this way, you gain more than just the ability to correct your work; over time, you can learn how to avoid plagiarism altogether.

Reasons Your Teacher May Run Your Paper Through a Plagiarism Detector

As stated previously, your teachers and professors grade papers with a fixed process that includes “check paper for plagiarism” as a standard, across-the-board action. Others may check for plagiarism only when they feel there is cause to do so. There are a few red flags that may stand out to them while reviewing a paper that would lead to their running a plagiarism check, including:

Style/Voice:  Most teachers are familiar with the style and voice that you use in your writing. While most will hope that the feedback they provide when grading your work will help you to improve problem areas over time, a paper or essay that has a dramatically different style or voice than the work you’ve previously submitted can be a red flag.

Inconsistency:  Changes in the font, font size, formality, formatting, and more may indicate that portions of a paper have been copied and pasted. If these inconsistent passages are not presented as quotations or don’t include citations, this may further indicate to your teacher that there’s plagiarism in the paper.

Old References:  Part of a well-researched paper is verifying the legitimacy and relevance of your sources. While some older references may be acceptable depending on the topic, if all of your sources are outdated, it may lead your teacher to believe that you’ve recycled your own work or someone else’s.

Looking for a checker to try? With EasyBib Plus you get unlimited checks to give you peace of mind when turning in your papers!

What is Plagiarism?

If you’re looking for a free online plagiarism checker , you’re already aware that it’s not something you want to be found in your papers. However, you may still be wondering: what does plagiarism mean? It’s a reasonable question and one that merits exploring. After all, some of the actions and circumstances that fall within the plagiarism definition come as a surprise to those who only learn that they’ve committed them after it’s too late.

So what is plagiarism? To define plagiarism in the most basic sense, you might say that it is taking someone else’s ideas and words and passing them off as your own.

If your goal is avoiding plagiarism entirely, you’ll need to go beyond the basics to thoroughly define plagiarism, recognize it, and keep clear of it. Some examples of plagiarism that students find surprising include forgotten citations, poor paraphrasing, and re-submitting your own work in whole or in part for more than one assignment. This useful article provides more help in recognizing and understanding the different forms that academic dishonesty can take.

Of course, using your own words and ideas does not count as plagiarism, nor does using common knowledge . Basically, common knowledge is information that is well known by the average person. Examples of common knowledge:

  • there are 12 months in a year
  • the freezing point of Celsius is zero degrees
  • Socrates was a Greek philosopher

So should you only include your original thoughts and common knowledge in your papers? Of course not! Research-based assignments are meant to demonstrate your skills as a researcher, after all, as well as your ability to build upon the work of others to formulate new ideas. To avoid accidentally committing an act that falls within the plagiarism definition when you’re using another person’s words or ideas, though, you need to give them proper credit. This means you’ll need to clearly identify direct quotations or properly paraphrase them when including them in your paper.

Regardless of your approach, you’ll also need to cite your sources according to the style your professor specifies. Generally, you will use MLA format for the arts and humanities and APA format for the sciences, but it’s always best to check with your instructor when you’re unsure.

If you know what style to use but still aren’t sure how to create your citations, don’t fret! Our library of resources includes free guides to help you learn about various styles so you can properly structure and place them. And our premium tools not only help you check grammar, spelling, and originality in your papers, but subscribers also enjoy access to our citation creation tools!

What are the Different Types of Plagiarism?

In addition to the question “what is plagiarism,” you may also be wondering, “why do students plagiarize?” While some students do intentionally plagiarize because they believe they can pass off someone else’s work as their own to avoid spending time on their assignments, many others do so accidentally. They may not understand how broad the plagiarism definition is or they haven’t learned how to research and cite their sources properly. That is why it is vital to recognize plagiarism in all of its forms if you wish to ensure the integrity of your work.

Examples of plagiarism & How to prevent it

Direct plagiarism:

Intentionally copying another person’s work without including a citation that gives credit to the source. When most students are asked to identify potential plagiarism examples and behaviors, this direct and deliberate act is what they think of first.

  • Prevention: If you use an idea or quote from another source, cite it in the text. Make it clear that it was not your own words. 

Incremental plagiarism:

Copying parts of another person’s work, such as phrases, sentences, or paragraphs without crediting the source. When deciding which tools to use to check a paper for plagiarism , instructors often seek out those that will identify incremental forms as well as instances of direct copying and similar phrasing.

  • Prevention : Decide to either directly quote the phrases or sentences you want to use, or write a good paraphrase. In both cases, be sure to add a citation. Using a plagiarism checker could also help you identify problematic passages.


Academic self-plagiarism occurs when a student submits the same paper or parts of a paper for more than one assignment. When your instructors are grading your papers, they’re assessing your research and writing skills in the present. When you submit work that you completed in the past, they are both unable to evaluate your current skills and unaware that you haven’t completed the assignment.

  • Prevention: Write a new paper for each assignment you’re assigned. If you feel strongly that your past work could enhance your new paper, speak to your instructor and ask for permission first.

Misleading citations:

Including a citation for a quote or idea that misrepresents the source material. This can occur if a student does not understand the reference they are citing; if a student includes a citation for a disreputable source; or the source material simply does not align with the idea or argument that the student has attributed to it.

  • Prevention: Carefully review your assignment to understand it. As you research, take the time to evaluate each source notes . Remember, it’s better to have quality citations over an abundance of citations.

Invented sources:

If a reference in a student’s bibliography is found not to exist, it is considered an invented source. This may occur if a student couldn’t find a reputable source to back their argument, or if they needed to include additional references to meet the requirements of the assignment and chose to take an unethical shortcut rather than completing the required amount of research. No matter the reason, this behavior ultimately hurts them in the long run. Not only will they fail to gain the experience they need to conduct research in the future properly, but they’ll also experience significant consequences if they’re caught.

  • Prevention: Set aside time to do proper research so you can find enough sources. Start creating a list of sources as you’re researching and take good notes. This will help you keep track of your sources so none are forgotten. If you do end up forgetting where a quote came from, a paper checker could help you pinpoint the original source. 


Patchwriting is often confused with paraphrasing, but there’s a significant difference. When you paraphrase, you demonstrate that you understand the topic well enough to restate it in your own words. When you patchwrite or spin, it is more akin to a word-swapping game; there’s no need to understand the subject, merely to have access to a thesaurus so you can substitute enough synonyms to mask the source material. This can be intentional, but it may also be a result of having a poor understanding of how to paraphrase.

  • Prevention: Using your own words, write down the key points of the phrase or idea, and put them together in a sentence. Be sure to include a citation as well. 

A good way to test if you’re patchwriting or paraphrasing is to remove your sources from view. If you can write about what you’ve read without looking at the source material, you likely understand it well enough to paraphrase it. If you have to review the source material with each new sentence or consult a thesaurus while writing about it (except when you’re adding direct quotations), you may be spinning your sources instead of paraphrasing them.

Academic Integrity Policies and Statements

If you’re still uncertain about what counts as plagiarism, look for your school’s/ organization’s policies on academic integrity and plagiarism. The policies of academic institutions usually cover what is considered plagiarism, the consequences of committing it, and how to avoid it. One great example is Purdue University’s Academic Integrity statement .

What are the Consequences of Plagiarism?

No matter the setting, plagiarism is not taken lightly, and the consequences can be significant. For a good reason, too! Whether in an academic or professional setting, the plagiarism consequences reflect the seriousness of the act, which is ultimately a form of theft that hurts everyone involved.

Just as with the theft of a tangible object, there can be legal punishments for plagiarism. It is, after all, a form of copyright infringement in many instances. A quick search for plagiarism articles will reveal that professional instances of intellectual theft have resulted in civil lawsuits and can even be criminally prosecuted under rare circumstances. In addition to the possible legal consequences, professionals may lose their jobs or have to start over in a new field after their acts of fraud are uncovered.

As a student, you’re likely to wonder what happens if you plagiarize in college or high school. While there will almost always be consequences for this behavior, there is no one-size-fits-all plagiarism sentence. Depending on the circumstances, academic dishonesty could result in outcomes such as:

  • You might get a zero for the assignment in which the infringement occurred.
  • You may receive a failing grade for the class. If it is a required course, this could leave you without enough credits to move on to the next level until you can repeat it and, in some instances, postpone graduation.
  • You may be expelled from your school or university.

The academic dishonesty may be noted on your transcript, which can lead to you not getting into your preferred college, graduate school, or Ph.D. program in the future.

Nobody wants to be known as a fraud or to have a reputation for dishonesty follow them through their career. And, given the consequences that can extend beyond just their reputation, it’s no wonder that professional and academic writers who wish to avoid them take the time to understand the complete definition of plagiarism and run their work through a plagiarism checker before sending it out into the world.

Even the vigilant can fall prey to inferior tools, unfortunately. Before selecting a plagiarism checker, you should understand how they work and what they can (and cannot) detect.

How We Check for Plagiarism

When exploring how to check for plagiarism, most students and professionals conclude that including a checking tool in their revision process is not only helpful but necessary. When you consider the Herculean task of checking each line of your paper against the text of each of your resources, the benefits of a checker are clear. Moreover, this manual approach would only alert you to matching text in the sources you’re aware of, after all, and leaves the sources you haven’t reviewed untouched.

But, hang on. Why would sources you haven’t reviewed factor into your review? The answer to this lies in the plagiarism definition you learned above. What is plagiarism? It’s presenting someone else’s work or ideas as your own, intentionally or otherwise. It is not uncommon to uncover an idea while you’re researching a topic and later misremember it as your own. This might even occur years after you originally came across it.

You might wonder: how can plagiarism be avoided if you have to account for the source of every thought you include in your work? A few exceptions minimize the scope of this. Common knowledge about your topic does not need to be supported by a citation, nor does knowledge that you gained through your personal experience. Using a subscription-based or free plagiarism checker will help you locate any passages that may fall into these categories so you can review them and decide for yourself whether a citation is needed.

EasyBib Plus writing tools provide easy, convenient, and reliable support to help you find potentially missed citations and can help you improve your paper into a high-quality paper with integrity. Simply upload your paper, select the checker, then sit back and relax as the site scans your document. In mere moments, we’ll search the web for passages of similar text and highlight duplicate content for your review.

Regardless of the tools you use to help you revise and polish your work, it’s ultimately your responsibility to ensure that you’re writing and submitting ethical work. That’s why our tools go beyond the basics and require your participation. The tool never automatically makes changes to your paper, but only flags sections that may need your attention and provides you with the matching source so you can to make an educated decision.

If you find that a citation is needed, our citation tools can help you create properly formatted citations and develop a complete bibliography. And, if you review the passage and determine that the match is coincidental, you can dismiss the alert and move on to the next.

Seamless Citation Creation

Professional writers and students alike can find creating citations incredibly confusing. Nevertheless, they are an integral part of a well-written and researched paper and a requirement in almost all academic settings. But, have you ever wondered why they are so important? Citations really do have a purpose—other than driving us crazy— that make it necessary always to cite our sources.

We cite our sources for a few important reasons:

We need to give credit where credit is due. When you use a quote from someone else’s work, you need to give credit for using their words and ideas. Research is often based on the works and ideas of others. However, to include the words and ideas of another without giving them proper credit is to plagiarize, even if the act was unintentional.

In addition, showing that you’ve done proper research by including in text & parenthetical citations and a comprehensive list of sources to back up your arguments gives your work a layer of credibility that can help you earn the trust of your reader or teacher.

Readers can find the sources you used.  When you’re writing high school or undergraduate papers, your only readers may be your instructors and peers. However, including citations at every level of writing helps to ensure that anyone who reads your work can access your sources to check their accuracy, learn more about your topic, and further their own research.

Sources can take your research and learning to the next level, too. When you are conducting research on a topic, checking the works cited or annotated bibliographies prepared by your sources can lead you down new avenues in your research to further develop your ideas and help you write your papers.

Correctly utilizing citations gives strength to your thoughts and opinions. Understanding the value of citations does not, unfortunately, make them any easier to create. We know how confusing it can be, but don’t throw in the towel on learning how to cite websites in MLA , create your APA citation website references, or format your works cited —this is where we come in!

While a free online plagiarism detector may tell you how much of your work is unoriginal and may even identify the passages that meet their plagiarize definition, a premium EasyBib Plus plagiarism checker account also gives you access to our powerful citation resources and generator so you can:

Scan your papers with the plagiarism tool to check for plagiarism-free work before you submit.

Review flagged passages to determine if they meet the plagiarism definition and create unlimited citations in APA format and MLA format for anything fitting the plagiarism meaning. Need more styles ? Check out our regular citation generator for thousands of choices and free resources to help you learn how to create an APA parenthetical citation , APA book citation , APA works cited , and so much more!

Build a full bibliography for your paper right along with your parenthetical or in-text citations, which can save you hours of work along the way compared to manually creating and formatting them.

How Else Do We Help You Improve Your Paper?

The EasyBib Plus plagiarism detector helps you check your content or paper for text that may be missing a citation—which may fall within the definition of plagiarism—to help ensure you don’t accidentally plagiarize. It also includes grammar check and spelling check tools to help identify errors and suggest grammatical tweaks that could help to elevate the level of your writing.

Running a plagiarism check couldn’t be easier! Just upload your paper to the online proofreader, and in a few moments we’ll have your writing and citing suggestions. And, there’s no need to worry about your paper after it’s been scanned.

Run a Grammar and Spell Check for Free!

There’s no denying that your schoolwork can be challenging at times, and your assignments can lead to some late nights even when you’ve started them early. The last thing you want is to submit assignments that don’t reflect your best effort, but it can occasionally be quite the juggling act to get everything done on time.

Why not let our plagiarism checker free up space on your calendar by helping you revise your papers quickly and efficiently? The EasyBib Plus paper checker is your one-stop shop to check for plagiarism, create citations, spot spelling mistakes, and receive feedback on your grammar and style.

When you proofread and do a manual spelling check on work that you’ve written, you’re more likely to overlook mistakes. This is even more likely if you’re pressed for time or trying to complete several different assignments at once. There are tricks to help minimize this, such as reading your work aloud to identify poor grammar or reading each sentence backward to find spelling errors. When time is of the essence, though, these solutions aren’t the most convenient or useful options. That’s why many students seek the assistance of online tools that will run a grammar and plagiarism check on their work.

Are you asking yourself, “ How do I check my grammar online ?” We’ve got the perfect checker for you! Our advanced tools help you find and correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes. Our targeted feedback and free writing and citing resources help you learn as you go to improve your writing over time.

The best part? You can use our grammar and writing tools any time of the day, any day of the year for! Looking to try it? Just upload or copy and paste your text into our online proofreader for a free grammar check with up to 5 suggestions, or sign up for EasyBib Plus today! EasyBib Plus gives you use of the plagiarism checker and unlimited access to suggestions that can help improve your spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, writing style, and grammar.

Published February 3, 2019. Updated April 9, 2020.

Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Melissa DeVrieze Meyer . Michele is a school library media specialist and the in-house librarian at EasyBib. You can find her here on Twitter. Melissa is a professional writer and editor based in New Jersey. She writes for academic brands and independent publishers about writing, grammar, and literature, and creates study and curriculum materials for ESL learners. You can find her on Twitter .

Visit our EasyBib Twitter feed to discover more citing tips, fun grammar facts, and the latest product updates.

Academic Integrity Tutorial

  • Examples of Plagiarism
  • Le Moyne College Policy on Plagiarism
  • Acceptable vs. Unacceptable
  • What is a Citation?
  • Why is Citing Important?
  • When Do I Cite?
  • How Do I Cite?
  • Paraphrasing and Summarizing
  • Practice Quiz
  • Plagiarism and ChatGPT (Generative AI)

Real Life Examples of Plagiarism

Plagiarism has real and serious consequences, even when done unintentionally.  Below are examples of people who were caught plagiarizing and the consequences they faced.

  • Kaavya Viswanathan In 2006, Kaavya Viswanathan published a young adult book. It was later discovered that Viswanathan plagiarized heavily from books by Megan McCafferty, among others. Viswanathan claims that the plagiarism was unintentional. However, her book was recalled from stores and taken out of print and Viswanathan lost her contract for a second book.
  • Jonah Lehrer Jonah Lehrer recently resigned as a writer for the New Yorker after he was caught self-plagiarizing on a number of occasions and fabricating quotes for a book.
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin Doris Kearns Goodwin is a historian who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1995. It was later discovered that Goodwin plagiarized in her 1987 book, The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys. Once her plagiarism was discovered, Goodwin had to leave her position as a guest pundit on the PBS NewsHour program and resigned from the Pulitzer Board.

Here are some examples of Plagiarism:

  • Turning in someone else's work as your own.
  • Copying large pieces of text from a source without citing that source.
  • Taking passages from multiple sources, piecing them together, and turning in the work as your own.
  • Copying from a source but changing a few words and phrases to disguise plagiarism.
  • Paraphrasing from a number of different sources without citing those sources.
  • Turning in work that you did for another class without getting your professor's permission first.
  • Buying an essay or paper and turning it in as your own work.

It is possible to cite sources but still plagiarize. Here are some examples:

  • Mentioning an author or source within your paper without including a full citation in your bibliography.
  • Citing a source with inaccurate information, making it impossible to find that source.
  • Using a direct quote from a source, citing that source, but failing to put quotation marks around the copied text.
  • Paraphrasing from multiple cited sources without including any original work.

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Plagiarism and Academic Integrity Essay

Peer pressure, time management, pressure to succeed, how to overcome plagiarism.

Plagiarism is referred to as literary theft and academic dishonesty, which usually occurs when someone copies the work, ideas and opinions of another author and expresses them as though they are his own without giving credit to the originator. It is very common among higher learning academicians especially when doing write ups for their projects, term papers or thesis.

Plagiarism is a very serious offence and it can attract penalties since copyright takes authors words as his own property and the author has rights to sue in the court of law in case of plagiarism. Plagiarizing not only involves written materials but also piracy in music and other properties.

On the other hand academic integrity refer to a situation whereby students in higher learning institution hold highly on the moral values academics and do their work honestly without cheating (Drinan and Gallant, 2010). It encourages acts of independent learning and critical thinking (White, Owens, and Nguyen 2007).

To maintain academic integrity, academicians should avoid acts of dishonesty, cheating, plagiarism among others. Institutions of higher learning should encourage academic integrity since it really helps students to develop academically and it makes it easy for them to face all kinds of challenges in their area of study.

Academicians give several reasons for plagiarizing some of which include: to help a friend, time pressure, extenuating circumstances, peer pressure, to increase the mark, monetary reward, fear of failure, everybody does it, laziness, lack of research skills, institution admission criteria, poor academic skills, student understanding of plagiarism, external pressure to succeed, careless tutors and invigilators, among others (Devlin and Gray, 2007).

Other reasons may be the advanced technology where by information is readily available online, financial problems where the student cannot afford resource materials, and low chance of being caught. Let us look at some of these reasons in details.

The following essay will show clearly what academic integrity entails, the reason behind plagiarism and how academicians may overcome it to maintain academic integrity.

Peer pressure is a very common scenario in many learning institutions and many students are not able to curb the challenge effectively (Devlin and Gray, 2007). International students are likely to fall to peer-pressure than local ones since they may be seeking comfort and friendship in a place far away from home where they are not familiar with most places and lifestyle. Peer pressure maybe as a result of several factors.

For example, a student may be working very hard to do an assignment honestly but on realizing that most of her classmates are plagiarizing, he/she may prone to do it too. In other instances, the local students in to adventure and having fun may easily influence international students and since they are new to the environment, they may have fun at the expense of the assignment leading to plagiarizing (Vermaat, 2008, Peer, 2009).

International students in higher learning institutions are usually involved in many activities such as jobs, family responsibilities and may be having many units to cover. This is because most of them are usually far away from their families thus they have to cater for their basic needs as they learn.

For instance, most of the international students in the institutions of higher learning do their studies part time after their usual economic businesses. Others are obsessed with having fun leaving very little time for their academic activities while some are generally lazy (Devlin and Gray, 2007).

Due to their big workload, they ought to have a very clear schedule for their activities. The ability of a student to manage his/her time well in college is a key to his/her success. Most of the research papers in higher learning institutions are meant to gauge the student qualification for the area he/she may be covering thus requires ample time.

Plagiarism in this case may be accelerated by procrastination whereby the student keeps on pushing the time to work on his paper until he/she is caught up with the deadline (UNSW, 2010). When students are caught up with the deadline, they are prone to panic and are therefore not able to concentrate or do enough research for their paper. They may end up getting involved in plagiarism to save the situation.

Most international students find it hard to adopt the new curriculum and may not be keen on giving enough time to their research paper because of the advanced technology. They know that they can still get the information from the internet or other books thus being reluctant.

They may also be going through financial strain as they adapt to the new lifestyle or because their guardians are far away thus looking for means to support themselves as they do their studies. This may lead them to poor time management since the job may be draining most of their time leaving them with very little time for their research paper.

Whenever a student joins any institution of higher learning, failing is never an option and the mission right from day one is to get the best grades possible. The pressure may even be more for international students since it takes some so much sacrifice and strain to seek better education at international institutions.

Pressure to succeed and fear of failure is perceived form all direction. For instance, the parents will always be proud of their child if he/she succeeds, the college always sets pass mark giving a student pressure to pass, whoever is learning also gets satisfaction and fulfillment after succeeding, the job market first absorbs the successful students, and in essence pressure to succeed comes from all direction (Sutherland-Smith, 2008)

The education system is so materialistic in a manner that there is always a reward for the successful student and therefore the student will take every action that will help him/her succeed. In this case, whenever a student is given any form of assignment, chances of plagiarism are so high since he/she to present the best work possible.

Through plagiarism, a student is assured of a better grade without putting so much effort or thinking too hard. Some students may be promised monetary gains in case of success while others may be lazy and want to get away with a good grade without sacrificing a lot. Other students may be taking courses they have a negative attitude towards, of which they have to pass thus making them prone to plagiarism (Devlin and Gray, 2007).

This mostly happens to international students when they realize hat most of their areas of study are different from what they were used to at home. This is probably because they do not understand the concept behind their area of study or else, there are just interested in passing to leave the area and do something of their interest. This comes about when students make uninformed decisions when choosing their area of study or guardians force them in to a certain profession.

Institutions of higher learning can only curb the problem of plagiarism by fostering academic integrity, which is composed of the following principles (Drinan and Gallant, 2010): Honesty- The students and tutors should have a driving force to be honest in learning, research and in exams.

Honesty gives a student satisfaction and fulfillment on the grades achieved, enabling him/her to identify and work on his/her weak areas. For international students who may be facing challenges adapting to the new system, it is advisable to develop interest to learn and create more time in order to understand the concept.

Institutions of higher learning and their students should create an atmosphere of trust where by none of them is afraid that the other may be dishonest in one way or the other. This will minimize cases of peer pressure whereby some honest student are forced to copy since everyone in class is doing it. This way, they are able to exchange ideas freely and they can help each other build well on their research and writing talents.

Tutors should always develop an attitude of fairness to their student’s right from the beginning whether they are local or international. They should be keen to encourage the honest students by rewarding their hard work well and putting strict measures to those caught with cases of dishonesty.

Many institutions have come up with means of capturing cases of academic dishonesty such as CCTV in exam rooms, software to detect digital plagiarism and this has encouraged student to work on their own thus getting fair rewards. Tutors should also be fair when marking papers in order to raise the morale of their students and should create a conducive environment for the international students to learn (Keuskamp and Sliuzas, 2007)

Academicians should hold the value of education dearly and with a lot of respect. Every credit in this field should be worked for and held with much integrity since it should be an evidence of the efforts the bearer has put towards its achievement. In this case students should manage their time carefully and this will enable them manage the pressure to pass without straining. It is therefore important to hold on to academic integrity and avoid cases of academic dishonesty.


Institutions of higher learning are meant to nature a spirit of responsibility not only in college but also in their day-to-day life. This should begin right from college where students should be responsible of their research papers by working hard without depending on other author’s materials. They should be taught the importance of time management and independence Local and international students should know the institutions mission right from the beginning in to work towards it.

Apart from the above principles of academic integrity, researchers should ensure that any information retrieved from another persons work is properly cited and references given. This can only be possible if the institution can facilitate on writing skills from the beginning of course work because many students get hardships when doing their write-ups due to lack of proper prior information.

Another way of overcoming plagiarism is through extensive discussions about it between the staff and the students in order to bring the issue to the light. This is because plagiarism has been hidden for many days through assumption that it is not a very serious issue. This leads many students to taking the issue lightly since they do not know much about plagiarism.

This is what leads to unintentional plagiarism since the student may think it is okay since no one talks about it. The staff should hole sessions with the students on time management and they way to live independently without much influence from the peers.

Academic integrity go hand in hand with plagiarism since for the former to operate, the latter should be totally avoided. When academic integrity is not upheld, it undermines the core values through which knowledge is obtained thus damaging the reputation of the larger academic community.

I would recommend that writing skills to be included in every curriculum as a common unit to give learners ample knowledge on how to learn independently and involve critical thinking whenever they are carrying out their assignments. It should be clear that plagiarism is a very serious offence, which should be discouraged in every institution. This is because most tutors and students have had a mentality that plagiarism is just one simple way of accomplishing their course of duty.

Barrier, J. & Presti, D. (2000). Digital plagiarisms . Web.

Devlin, M. & Gray, K. (2007). A qualitative study of the Reasons Australian university students plagiarize. Centre for the Study of Higher Education, The University of Melbourne. Web.

Drinan, P. & Gallant, T. (2010), Student Conduct Practice . Virginia : Stylus Publishing. Web.

Keuskamp, D. & Sliuzas, R. (2007). Plagiarism prevention or detection? The contribution of text-matching software to education about academic integrity. Journal of Academic Language & Learning, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 91-A99. Web.

Peer pressure and plagiarism. (2009). Peer pressure and plagiarism . Web.

Sutherland-Smith, W. (2008). Plagiarism, the Internet, and Students learning . NY, Routledge. Web.

The University of New South Wales. (2010). How Does Plagiarism Happen? Web.

Vermaat, S. (2008). Discovering Computers 2009: Introductory . Cengage Learning. Web.

White, F., Owens, C. & Nguyen, M. (2007). Using a constructive feedback approach to effectively reduce student plagiarism among first-year psychology students . Web.

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  • Plagiarism: For and Against
  • Plagiarism: What It Is and How to Avoid It
  • What Is Plagiarism and Why Is It Wrong?
  • Plagiarism Problem in Higher Education
  • Academic Integrity: Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty
  • Plagiarism Is Morally Reprehensible
  • Academic Integrity and Plagiarism
  • The Price of the Plagiarism
  • Plagiarism Effects in Academic Institutions and Workplace
  • Plagiarism Effects and Strategies
  • Tips to Create an Effective Headline
  • How to Write a Research Paper
  • Elements of a Typical College Paper
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods
  • Ways to Free Your Creativity in Writing
  • Memberships
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Academic English UK

Academic Plagiarism

by AEUK | Nov 14, 2022 | EAP Teacher , Plagiarism , Speaking

academic plagiarism

Academic Plagiarism

What  is academic plagiarism?

Academic Plagiarism at university is a form of cheating and is a serious academic offence. It arises from work submitted that is not the student’s own and has been taken from another source and usually includes a lack of referencing, poor paraphrasing or complete copying. The most common forms of plagiarism are:  direct, mosaic, source-based, paraphrasing, translation, self, accidental and commissioning plagiarism. 

University Plagiarism Definitions

Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s work or ideas as your own, with or without their consent, by incorporating it into your work without full acknowledgement. All published and unpublished material, whether in manuscript, printed or electronic form, is covered under this definition. Plagiarism may be intentional or reckless, or unintentional. Under the regulations for examinations, intentional or reckless plagiarism is a disciplinary offence ( Oxford University, 2022 ).
For purposes of the Stanford University Honour Code, plagiarism is defined as the use, without giving reasonable and appropriate credit to or acknowledging the author or source, of another person’s original work, whether such work is made up of code, formulas, ideas, language, research, strategies, writing or other form(s). Moreover, verbatim text from another source must always be put in (or within) quotation marks ( Stanford University, 2022 ).
If a student submits an assignment that contains work that is not their own, they are committing ‘plagiarism’ and this is an academic offence. Submitting work that has been done by someone else and persistent borrowing of other people’s work without citation are instances of plagiarism and are regarded as cheating. Paying for work from other sources and submitting it as your own is also a form of plagiarism. It is intellectually dishonest to cheat and thus give one student an unfair advantage over others ( The Open University, 2022 ).

Academic  Plagiarism Video

A short video plagiarism

Academic Plagiarism Video Worksheet

This worksheet is designed to improve students’ understanding of academic plagiarism. Students watch the video and take notes on the eight types of plagiarism, how to avoid plagiarism, what is Turnitin and plagiarism checkers. Video    Level *** ** [ B1/B2/C1/C2 ] 

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Academic Plagiarism Download

Academic plagiarism (task-based lesson).

This lesson is designed to improve students’ understanding of academic plagiarism. It introduces students to university plagiarism definitions and asks them to create a ‘how to avoid plagiarism’ list. The lesson also includes a section on the university plagiarism system ‘Turnitin’ and a range of tasks on using plagiarism checker websites .  Example .  Level *** ** [ B1/B2/C1/C2 ] TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP  

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Eight types of plagiarism.

eight types of plagiarism

How to avoid plagiarism

how to avoid academic plagiarism

Most UK universities use is a web-based plagiarism prevention system called ‘Turnitin’.

There are three main uses of Turnitin:

  • To act as a deterrent against plagiarism.
  • To provide reports which can help identify occurrences of plagiarism.
  • To provide students with a tool to identify and correct possible occurrences of plagiarism.

How does Turnitin work?  Students upload their assignment through Turnitin on the university’s online learning platform. Turnitin will then analyse the submitted work to identify text matches with other sources and collusion, usually completing this task within a few minutes. For each piece of submitted work, Turnitin provides two things:

  • A similarity index, which indicates the percentage of the submitted paper that Turnitin has identified as being matched against other sources. In the example below, this is 85%.
  • An originality report, which shows each of these matches in more detail, including the direct links to the source(s) that Turnitin has found. These can be websites, books, journals and articles, or work that has previously been submitted. In the example below, there are 10 source matches.

Text adapted from Queen Mary University (2022):

Turnitin plagiarism example

Academic Plagiarism Checkers

Here are a couple of free plagiarism checkers.

Be aware that these checkers are not as good as Turnitin.

plagiarism checker

plagiarism checker 2 

plagiarism 1

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Reading Test: Academic Plagiarism – the use of custom essay writing services / writing mills

The text discusses what academic plagiarism is, what custom essay writing services are and why university students use them. It highlights the key problems associated with using these sites and offers possible solutions to prevent students from using them. The reading test worksheet includes: headings / T,F,NG / open answers / gap fill / information tables / reference words / vocabulary.   ( Example )  Level *** ** [ B2/C1] TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP

Academic Plagiarism: Summary  Reading & Writing Lesson

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Do Plagiarism Checkers Detect AI Content?

AI content

Originality has always been a cornerstone of academic success. But the landscape is changing. With the rise of AI writing assistants, the line between helpful tool and sneaky shortcut is blurring. This raises a crucial question: can traditional plagiarism checkers, a student’s reliable partner to detect plagiarism, keep pace with AI content generation? In this blog, we discuss the extent of plagiarism detection on AI-generated text, and how not to overlook AI’s involvement in academic writing.  

Table of Contents

Why can’t plagiarism detectors detect ai content.

  • What are university guidelines on AI-generated content?

Human Supervision

Originality emphasis, enhancing text responsibly, staying informed.

AI-generated content often consists of entirely new combinations of words, making it difficult for traditional plagiarism detection tools to identify unintentional or self-plagiarism. These tools employ conventional text-matching and compare text against a database of existing content to detect plagiarised content. As AI-generated content is original and is not copied or paraphrased from existing content, it doesn’t match any entries in the database, making it challenging for plagiarism detection tools to flag it as plagiarized.

What are university guidelines on AI-generated content ?

Universities, including Yale, have recognized the challenges associated with detecting AI-generated writing and have adapted their guidelines accordingly. 1 Yale’s guidance on the usage of AI acknowledges the difficulty of controlling the ease of AI writing through surveillance or detection technology. Notably, Yale has opted not to enable Turnitin’s AI detection feature in their Canvas system due to reliability concerns. This stance reflects a growing awareness among academic institutions of the limitations of existing detection tools in identifying AI-generated content accurately.

academic plagiarism essay

What ethics should researchers and PhD students practice when using AI writing tools?

Researchers and PhD students can leverage the benefits of AI writing tools while upholding academic integrity and producing high-quality, original research. Below are a few ethical practices to use AI responsibly in academic writing:

It’s essential to supervise AI-generated content closely, ensuring that it aligns with academic standards and does not deviate from original intentions. AI should not be allowed to run autonomously without human oversight. Maintaining human control ensures that AI-generated content upholds ethical standards and avoids unintended consequences.

Distinguish between using AI to generate new text and enhancing existing work. Originality remains paramount in academic submissions, emphasizing the importance of authentically crafted content.

While AI can assist in enhancing text by simplifying language and structure, it’s crucial to avoid direct copying and ensure that the final output remains original and attributable to the author.

Stay informed about institutional policies and guidelines regarding the ethical use of AI tools in academic writing. Being aware of evolving guidelines helps navigate the ethical considerations effectively.

The discussion reflects a nuanced approach to the use of AI in academic writing, balancing the benefits of AI assistance with ethical considerations and academic integrity. While AI tools can be valuable aids in the writing process, they should be used responsibly and in accordance with institutional guidelines to ensure the production of original and ethically sound academic work.


  • AI Guidance for Teachers – Yale Poorvu Centres for Teaching and Learning

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Get accurate academic translations, rewriting support, grammar checks, vocabulary suggestions, and generative AI assistance that delivers human precision at machine speed. Try for free or upgrade to Paperpal Prime starting at US$19 a month to access premium features, including consistency, plagiarism, and 30+ submission readiness checks to help you succeed.  

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Related Reads:

  • What are the Benefits of Generative AI for Academic Writing?
  • Should You Use AI Tools like ChatGPT for Academic Writing?
  • Plagiarism Checkers vs. AI Content Detection: Navigating the Academic Landscape
  • What are Journal Guidelines on Using Generative AI Tools

Word Choice Problems: How to Use The Right Words in Academic Writing 

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Prevent plagiarism, run a free plagiarism check.

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  • Consequences of Mild, Moderate & Severe Plagiarism

Consequences of Mild, Moderate & Severe Plagiarism

Published on October 18, 2021 by Tegan George . Revised on November 21, 2023.

If you use someone else’s words or ideas without properly crediting them, you could be committing plagiarism . The consequences of plagiarism vary based on the severity of the offense.

Plagiarism can also have serious consequences in high school and during the college application process . Many high schools use plagiarism checkers and treat plagiarism the same way colleges do, and admissions officers will typically disregard your application if they find you’ve plagiarized any part of it.

Table of contents

What colleges say about the consequences of plagiarism, why is plagiarism so serious, frequently asked questions about plagiarism.

Plagiarism in college has serious consequences, even when committed by accident. You can usually find the details of your institution’s plagiarism policy and examples of plagiarism in your code of conduct. If you’re unsure about the specifics, ask your instructor.

Some examples from different institutions are shown below.

  • American University
  • Cerro Coso Community College

“Academic Integrity Code violations are treated very seriously. The misperceived short-term gain from these acts is not worth the long-term consequences of the penalty.

“Sanctions for code violations include loss of credit for the assignment, a failing grade for the course, a permanent notation on the transcript, and dismissal from the university. Second offenses will result in suspension or dismissal from the university.”

Source: American University

“While it is recognized that scholarly work often involves reference to the ideas, data and conclusions of other scholars, intellectual honesty requires that such references be explicitly and clearly noted. Plagiarism is a serious academic offence.”

Source: University of Calgary

“Students accused of academic misconduct may not change registration in the course (e.g., drop the course, change grading option to P/F) while the case is pending, or if a finding of academic misconduct has been made. While the case is being investigated and/or adjudicated, the presumption of innocence means that the student may continue to attend class and receive grades. During that time, however, the student may not receive credit for the course in which the alleged misconduct occurred and may not be graduated.”

Source: University of Michigan

“An instructor who determines that a student has cheated or plagiarized has a range of many options, which may be as severe as giving the student a failing grade for the course. Furthermore, the student may face other penalties as stated in the college’s Student Conduct Policy. Finally, it must be understood that a student who knowingly aids in another student’s cheating e.g., permitting the other student to copy a paper or examination question, is as guilty as the other of the offense.”

Source: Cerro Coso Community College

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

You might wonder why universities and other organizations impose such serious consequences for plagiarism, even when it’s accidental.

Plagiarism amounts to theft, and there are good reasons for institutions (and for you!) to take it seriously. Plagiarism:

  • Is dishonest : When done deliberately, plagiarism indicates that the person responsible is not honest about their work, which is a problem in any context.
  • Harms the person you’re plagiarizing: It’s easy to see why you wouldn’t want your writing stolen and passed off as someone else’s—especially in publishing.
  • Hinders the learning process: If you’re stealing words and ideas from others, your own creativity is not being tested, and you’re not learning.
  • Obscures the sources of ideas: All academic writing builds on the ideas of others, and it’s important that the reader can clearly trace where those ideas came from.
  • Results in bad writing: Whatever the quality of the text(s) you’re plagiarizing, a paper made up of a patchwork of different unacknowledged sources is usually a mess.

The consequences of plagiarism vary depending on the type of plagiarism and the context in which it occurs. For example, submitting a whole paper by someone else will have the most severe consequences, while accidental citation errors are considered less serious.

If you’re a student, then you might fail the course, be suspended or expelled, or be obligated to attend a workshop on plagiarism. It depends on whether it’s your first offense or you’ve done it before.

As an academic or professional, plagiarizing seriously damages your reputation. You might also lose your research funding or your job, and you could even face legal consequences for copyright infringement.

Plagiarism has serious consequences , and can indeed be illegal in certain scenarios.

While most of the time plagiarism in an undergraduate setting is not illegal, plagiarism or self-plagiarism in a professional academic setting can lead to legal action, including copyright infringement and fraud. Many scholarly journals do not allow you to submit the same work to more than one journal, and if you do not credit a co-author, you could be legally defrauding them.

Even if you aren’t breaking the law, plagiarism can seriously impact your academic career. While the exact consequences of plagiarism vary by institution and severity, common consequences include: a lower grade, automatically failing a course, academic suspension or probation, or even expulsion.

Plagiarism is a form of theft, since it involves taking the words and ideas of others and passing them off as your own. As such, it’s academically dishonest and can have serious consequences .

Plagiarism also hinders the learning process, obscuring the sources of your ideas and usually resulting in bad writing. Even if you could get away with it, plagiarism harms your own learning.

Accidental plagiarism is one of the most common examples of plagiarism . Perhaps you forgot to cite a source, or paraphrased something a bit too closely. Maybe you can’t remember where you got an idea from, and aren’t totally sure if it’s original or not.

These all count as plagiarism, even though you didn’t do it on purpose. When in doubt, make sure you’re citing your sources . Also consider running your work through a plagiarism checker tool prior to submission, which work by using advanced database software to scan for matches between your text and existing texts.

Scribbr’s Plagiarism Checker takes less than 10 minutes and can help you turn in your paper with confidence.

Self-plagiarism means recycling work that you’ve previously published or submitted as an assignment. It’s considered academic dishonesty to present something as brand new when you’ve already gotten credit and perhaps feedback for it in the past.

If you want to refer to ideas or data from previous work, be sure to cite yourself.

If you’re concerned that you may have self-plagiarized, Scribbr’s Self-Plagiarism Checker can help you turn in your paper with confidence. It compares your work to unpublished or private documents that you upload, so you can rest assured that you haven’t unintentionally plagiarized.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

George, T. (2023, November 21). Consequences of Mild, Moderate & Severe Plagiarism. Scribbr. Retrieved April 2, 2024, from

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IE 11 Not Supported

Report finds genai use up, plagiarism down in 7 countries, a 13-month study from copyleaks found an encouraging decline in plagiarism, and most papers and assignments completed by high school and college students were not found to contain ai-generated text..


  • United States — 17 percent (AI-generated content) and 30 percent (plagiarism)
  • Canada — 16 percent and 27 percent
  • United Kingdom — 10 percent and 33 percent
  • South Africa — 26 percent and 13 percent
  • Myanmar — 23 percent and 24 percent
  • Philippines — 19 percent and 30 percent
  • Australia — 31 percent and 19 percent



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