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What is it?

Plagiarism is presenting someone else's words or ideas as your own.  It is basically a form of theft, and it can get you in pretty deep water, both academically and professionally.  And, it doesn't matter if it was an accident - it is the same as if you did it on purpose.  Of course, Northeast State students would NEVER plagiarize on purpose!  However, it can be done on accident.  Hopefully, this module will help you learn to identify issues in your own work and avoid any form of plagiarism.

Why is it such a big deal?

For starters, when you take this online course and when you submit assignments, you have to click on that statement where you assert that you are turning in your own work.  If you are plagiarizing, you are lying when you make that statement.  In school, the penalties for plagiarism can be an F on the assignment to an F in the course, to expulsion from school.  If your plagiarism ends up on your academic record, it will follow you for the rest of your life.  It makes acceptance to other schools very difficult, and employers will think twice about someone whose academic honesty is so tarnished.

In life outside of school, plagiarism is still a big deal.  Just do a Google News search on Plagiarism to see.  Authors, politicians, and others get caught regularly.  An accusation of plagiarism, especially when proved true, can be a career and reputation destroyer.  Plagiarism leads others to doubt a person's honesty, ethics, and overall character.

So, how can I avoid plagiarism?

  • Cite your sources!  Anything you have borrowed from someone else should be clearly indicated within the body of your paper, and the source should be properly formatted on your Works Cited page.
  • When you take notes while reading sources, include the source information with the notes.  That way, you won't have to go back and look for it when you do your writing.
  • When in doubt, ask for help.  Your course Librarian and your teacher are here to help you succeed.  It is better to ask for help than try to backpedal if you make a mistake.

The following links will take you to some more tips on avoiding plagiarism:

Editage. Tips to Avoid Accidental Plagiarism. YouTube.