Plagiarism (pronounced: play-juh-riz-um) is the act of taking someone else’s words, ideas, or information and passing them off as your own.
If you use someone else's ideas and don’t give credit in footnotes or endnotes and a bibliography, you are committing plagiarism, which is a serious academic offense.
In the process of learning, we acquire ideas from many sources and exchange ideas and opinions with classmates, professors, and others. This occurs in reading, writing, and discussion.
You are expected—often required—to build our work on that of others, just as professional researchers and writers do.
Giving credit to someone whose work has helped you is courteous and honest; in fact, not to give such credit is a crime. Plagiarism is the severest form of academic fraud. Plagiarism is theft.
Specifically, plagiarism is presenting as your own:
Other forms of academic fraud include:
Proper acknowledgement makes the difference. It is your responsibility to know what constitutes plagiarism.
Not knowing citation standards is not an excuse. When in doubt, err on the side of over-documentation and cite the source. You can also ask your professor, teaching assistant, or a librarian for help in determining what is and is not plagiarism.