Research Guides: Plagiarism

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What Is Plagiarism?
Plagiarism is taking someone else's words, ideas, or work and passing them off as your own. 

Plagiarism may be intentional or unintentional and can happen in many different ways, including:
  • Turning in someone else's completed work as if it was your own. This includes assignments/papers you hand in that were completed/written by a classmate, friend, or family member
  • Copying significant portions of a single text without using quotations and providing a citation
  • Changing select words or phrases but keeping the essential structure and essence of a passage
  • Using false or inaccurate citations
  • Using images, audio, or video for any purpose without giving credit to the original creator
  • Using statistics without citing the original source
  • Buying a paper online or written by someone else
RVCC's Plagiarism Policy
Violations of the Code for Academic Dishonesty, Cheating and Plagiarism

Raritan Valley Community College requires independent, honest work on the part of its students,
and students are expected to conduct themselves with scholarly integrity. Each confirmed incident
of academic dishonesty, cheating or plagiarism must be reported by the faculty member, in writing,
to the Dean of Academic Affairs. Violations of academic dishonesty and cheating include, but are
not limited to:
  1. Copying graded homework assignments from another student.
  2. Working together on an assignment without being authorized by the faculty member to do so.
  3. Looking at another student’s paper during an exam.
  4. Copying another student’s computer program or class project and submitting it as one’s own.
  5. Stealing or borrowing all or part of an exam’s questions or answers.
  6. Entering a computer file without authorization.
  7. Giving someone answers to exam question while the exam is being given.
  8. Giving or selling a term paper, report, drawing, or computer program to another student for submission to the faculty member.
  9. Deceiving a faculty member to improve one’s grade.
  10. Falsifying data or a source of information.
  11. Use of any technology to gain access to test answers, test questions or prohibited materials such as notes, online databases and websites during a test.
  12. Submitting work for a grade that was executed in another class or previous semester without the instructor’s permission.

Examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to:
  1. Copying answers from a textbook to submit for a grade.
  2. Quoting text or other works without citation when requested by the faculty member to present one’s own work.
  3. Submitting a paper or essay obtained from a term paper service or taken from the Internet.
  4. Submitting a paper or report written by another student, a spouse, or a colleague as one’s own.
  5. Submitting another student’s project, essay, research paper, or computer program as one’s own.
  6. Submitting a paper wholly or in substantial part using the exact phrasing of source material.
  7. Submitting a paper closely paraphrased from source material, where the original source material is simply edited with perhaps minor word changes occurring.
  8. Submitting a paper closely paraphrased from source material, splicing together sentences from scattered segments of the original.

Click here for the full Code of Student Conduct.
10 Most Common Types of Plagiarism
Plagiarism is not always a black and white issue. The boundary between plagiarism and research is often unclear. Learning to recognize the various forms of plagiarism, especially the more ambiguous ones, is an important step towards effective prevention.

As part of the Plagiarism Spectrum project, a May 2012 survey of nearly 900 secondary and higher education instructors was also conducted to assess the frequency with which these types appear as well as the degree to which each type is problematic for instructors.

Each of the 10 most common types of plagiarism are defined below. The types are ranked in order of severity of intent.

Above information originally from
Finding Citation Information for Websites
Academic citation of websites must include more than just a url. Information like the author, publisher or sponsoring organization, date last updated and date accessed must be included in a website citation. View this video for more on how to find the information needed for a website citation. Below the video are examples of how to cite a website in MLA and APA format.

MLA Citation format for websites:
Author Last Name, First Name. "Title of webpage or article." Title of Website . Publisher or Sponsoring Organization (if none use N.p), Date of Publication (or n.d for no date). Format. Date of Access. ‹url› **Cite URL only when the reader cannot find the source by doing a simple internet search.

Here's the citation for the Robert Frost page at

The Academic American Encyclopedia. "Biography of Robert Frost." AmericanPoems...your poetry site. Gunnar Bengtsson. 2000. Web. 17 September 2013. 

APA Citation format for websites:

Author Last Name, A.A. (Year, Month Date of last update). Title of website or article. Retrieved Month Date, Year, from URL.

Notes: If no date is available, use n.d.
If no author is available put the title of the article in the author position
Only include retrieval date if information is likely to change often (i.e. wikis)

Here's the citation for the Type 2 Diabetes Guide on WebMD

Type 2 Diabetes (n.d.). WebMD. Retrieved from

Glossary of Plagiarism Terms


The acknowledgement that something came from another source. The following sentence properly attributes an idea to its original author:

Jack Bauer, in his article "Twenty-Four Reasons not to Plagiarize," maintains that cases of plagiarists being expelled by academic institutions have risen dramatically in recent years due to an increasing awareness on the part of educators.


A list of sources used in preparing a work


  • A short, formal indication of the source of information or quoted material.
  • The act of quoting material or the material quoted.
  • See our section on citation styles for more information.


  • to indicate a source of information or quoted material in a short, formal note.
  • to quote
  • to ascribe something to a source.
  • See our section on citation styles for more information.


Information that is readily available from a number of sources or so well-known that its sources do not have to be cited.

The fact that carrots are a source of Vitamin A is common knowledge, and you could include this information in your work without attributing it to a source. However, any information regarding the effects of Vitamin A on the human body are likely to be the products of original research and would have to be cited.


A law protecting the intellectual property of individuals, giving them exclusive rights over the distribution and reproduction of that material.


Notes at the end of a paper acknowledging sources and providing additional references or information.


Knowledge or information based on real, observable occurrences.

Just because something is a fact does not mean it is not the result of original thought, analysis, or research. Facts can be considered intellectual property as well. If you discover a fact that is not widely known nor readily found in several other places, you should cite the source.


The guidelines for deciding whether the use of a source is permissible or constitutes a copyright infringement.

See our section What is Fair Use? for more information.


Notes at the bottom of a paper acknowledging sources or providing additional references or information.


A product of the intellect, such as an expressed idea or concept, that has commercial value.


  • Not derived from anything else, new and unique
  • Markedly departing from previous practice
  • The first, preceding all others in time
  • The source from which copies are made


A restatement of a text or passage in other words.

It is extremely important to note that changing a few words from an original source does NOT qualify as paraphrasing. A paraphrase must make significant changes in the style and voice of the original while retaining the essential ideas. If you change the ideas, then you are not paraphrasing -- you are misrepresenting the ideas of the original, which could lead to serious trouble.


The reproduction or appropriation of someone else's work without proper attribution; passing off as one's own the work of someone else


The absence of copyright protection; belonging to the public so that anyone may copy or borrow from it. For more information, see our section on What is public domain?


Using words from another source.


Copying material you have previously produced and passing it off as a new production.

This can potentially violate copyright protection if the work has been published and is banned by most academic policies.

This list originally from

Online Plagiarism Games & Quizzes
A Planet in Peril
Video game in which a college student’s plagiarism could cause the end of the world. Game play gives players decisions to commit or avoid plagiarism (Requires Adobe Shockwave).
Goblin Threat Plagiarism Game
(Snowden Library, Lycoming College)
Interactive game in which the player has to catch goblins and answer questions about plagiarism to eliminate all of the goblins.
Plagiarism Quiz
(Z. Smith Reynolds Library)
A 10 question quiz asking students to identify if a source is quoted/paraphrased and cited correctly. Requires a bit of reading, but a good, challenging exercise.
Famous Plagiarists and their Punishment

The Perpetrator

The Case

The Judgment

picture of Jayson Blair

Jayson Blair

36 of the 73 national news stories written by him for theNew York Times included plagiarized quotes or were made up.

Forced to resign from the New York Times. The executive editor and managing editor also resigned shortly after Blair.

semester at sea image

College Student

An Ohio University student was charged with plagiarizing a paper because she didn’t cite or paraphrase correctly.

Expelled from the University of Virginia’s Semester at Sea program. She was forced to disembark early and go home.

picture of Stephen Glass

Stephen Glass

27 of the 41 stories he wrote for The New Republiccontained fabricated information. Some stories, like “Hack Heaven,” were completely made up.

Forced to resign from The New Republic.

picture of Kaavya Viswanathan

Kaavya Viswanathan

Her novel, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life, had too many similarities to novels by Megan McCafferty, Salman Rushdie, Sophie Kinsella, Meg Cabot, and Tanuja Desai Hidier.

Her book was pulled from publication after the plagiarism was discovered. Her book and movie deals were dropped. Because the novel was not part of her academic work, Harvard took no action against the sophomore.

picture of Timothy Goeglein

Timothy S. Goeglein

Former White House aide, 20 of the 38 stories he wrote for the News-Sentinel (Indiana), copied text from other sources without citing them.

Resigned from White House. News-Sentinel editor stated they won't publish his articles in the future.

picture of Janet Dailey

Janet Dailey

In two of her books, she borrowed plot points as well as passages from Nora Robert's novels.

Both novels were pulled from print and she paid a settlement to Nora Roberts.


Mendez, Mayita.  “Jayson Blair.” (image).  The making of Jayson Blair.  Available from: The Baltimore Sun. <,0,4086491.story> (accessed 8 June 2009).

Wink, Jonathon.  “Stephen Glass.” (image). Stephen Glass' former colleagues say journalist's deception should have been obvious. Available from: The Post Gazette. <> (accessed 8 June 2009).

Ryan, David L. “Kaavya Viswanathan.” (image).  Student novelist’s book to be recalled.  Available from:  The Boston Globe. <> (accessed 8 June 2009).

Timothy S. Goeglein (image). Gone.  Available from:  Silver in SF. <> (accessed 8 June 2009)

Janet Dailey (image). Authors:  Janet Dailey. Available from: Simon & Schuster. <> (accessed 8 June 2009).

This chart created by The Library, UC San Diego.

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