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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 Statement of Academic Integrity

Raritan Valley Community College defines academic integrity as a commitment to independent, original, and honest work. Students are expected to conduct themselves with scholarly integrity. Each suspected incident of academic dishonesty, cheating, or plagiarism will be reported to the Divisional Dean. Upon confirmation of the student’s offense by the appropriate Divisional Dean, the student will be subject to warnings and penalties up to and including suspension or dismissal from the College.
The selling, purchasing, or contributing of homework assignments, lab reports, quizzes, essays, and papers from another person or from online sites is dishonest and illegal (see New Jersey Statute 18A:2-3) and will be addressed accordingly.

Academic Dishonesty and Cheating

Examples of cheating violations include, but are not limited to:

  • Copying graded and ungraded homework assignments from another student.
  • Working together on a graded assignment that the faculty member has indicated is an individual assignment.
  • Looking at another student’s paper during an exam.
  • Copying another student’s computer program, class project, or assignment, and submitting it as one’s own.
  • Stealing or borrowing all or part of an exam’s questions or answers.
  • Entering a computer file without authorization.
  • Giving someone answers to exam questions before an exam or while the exam is being given.
  • Giving or selling an assignment, term paper, report, drawing, or computer program to another student for submission to the faculty member.
  • Deceiving a faculty member to improve one’s grade.
  • Falsifying data or a source of information.
  • Unauthorized 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.
  • Submitting work for a grade that the student already submitted in another class or previous semester without the current faculty member’s permission.
  • Submitting work from one course into a second course without permission from the current faculty member.
  • Copying quiz questions from Canvas-administered quizzes for private use or for distribution to other students.
  • Making up information and citations.
  • Using information from study websites (such as Course Hero, Chegg, or Study Buddy) for assignments and submitting it as one’s own work.
  • Uploading or sharing an item to a study website (such as Course Hero, Chegg, or Study Buddy)


Examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to:

  • Copying answers from a textbook, website, or any other print/digital source, to submit for a grade without citations and presenting them as their own.
  • Using the instructor edition of a textbook for assignment answers without faculty authorization to do so.
  • Quoting text or other works without appropriate citations.
  • Submitting a paper paraphrased from sources without citations.
  • Submitting work obtained from a term paper service or taken from the Internet.
  • Submitting work written by someone else (including another student) as one’s own.
  • Submitting a paper paraphrased from source material, splicing together sentences from scattered segments of the original.
  • Reproduction of visual media and multimedia materials (videos, etc.) without permission from the artist or appropriate citation and distributing the materials as independent.
  • Writing an essay using Google Translate (or any other translation tool).

The full Code of Student Conduct can be found in the Student Handbook and the Student Conduct website. Students who wish to challenge an accusation of Academic Dishonesty should speak to the appropriate Divisional Dean and may request a formal Disciplinary Review to adjudicate the matter.

This will be the universal statement that goes on RVCC syllabi. Departments may add extra.

Students’ work must be their own, without exception. Students may not resubmit graded or purchased work from other courses or sources. Any use of legitimate outside resources must be appropriately cited in the work. Your professor has the authority to issue a failure on the paper, exam, assignment or course in which academic dishonesty was determined. Violations will be reported to the Divisional Dean and will result in warnings and penalties up to and including suspension and dismissal. Examples of academic dishonesty, acceptable outside resources, and citation methods are available from the RVCC Library.


Read the full Code of Student Conduct. See page 37.

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. Click here to see the top 10 most common types of plagiarism.

Glossary of Plagiarism Terms

This list originally from


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 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.