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Using Sources

What is Plagiarism?

According to Sheridan’s Academic Integrity Policy (2016), plagiarism is "the act of presenting another person’s words, research or ideas as your own without acknowledging the source of the information used" (p. 5). You can be guilty of plagiarizing even if you did not intend to copy someone else's work, but simply do not give clear credit when you use an idea, phrase or concept from another source.

But what does that actually mean? What does plagiarism look like in practice?

Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to:

  • Copying an essay, project, visual art piece, programming code, or other type of work and then submitting it as your own work. 
  • Copying another person’s words without the use of quotation marks and appropriate references to signify that these are excerpts from someone else’s work;
  • Presenting another person’s ideas or theories in your own words without acknowledging that person;
  • Presenting someone else’s technical, programming, digital information, thinking or expertise as your own (e.g., architectural sketches, computer programs, or 3D models);
  • Submitting as your own the musical scores, dance routines, visual art pieces, sketches, drawings, photographs, etc. created by another artist;
  • Having someone else modify or correct your work and then submitting the work as your own; and/or

There are many "shades" of plagiarism.  Consult the following document to see the different types.

How can I avoid plagiarising?

The best way to avoid plagiarism is to understand what it is so that you are not accidentally committing it. Even students with the best of intentions can get stuck in a situation that could possibly lead to plagiarism. Here are some tips to help avoid being caught in a situation that could lead to plagiarism: