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Respiratory Technology - Sellersburg: What is Plagarism

Plagarism and Documentation Resources

What does the Ivy Tech Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities say about plagiarism?  Here is a definition of plagiarism from section IIA of the Code:

"Plagiarism : Presenting within one’s own work the ideas, representations, or words of another person without customary and proper acknowledgment of that person’s authorship is considered plagiarism. Students who are unsure of what constitutes plagiarism should consult with their instructors. Claims of ignorance will not necessarily excuse the offense."

In simpler terms, plagiarism is passing off someone else's work as your own.  For example:


  • If you borrow or buy a paper from a friend and turn it in with your name on it, that's plagiarism.
  • If you copy a paper from the Internet (or a magazine or any other source) and turn it in with your name on it, that's plagiarism.
  • If you use ideas from a source (a book, magazine, website, etc.) and don't indicate or document the source they're from, that's plagiarism.
  • If you copy material from a source and don't put the words inside quotation marks, that's plagiarism.

Intentional Plagiarism

Sometimes students plagiarize intentionally.  They run out of time to complete an assignment or they're worried about their ability to complete an assignment successfully or they get lazy, and they copy information from a source. 

Obviously, intentional plagiarism is a serious academic offense, and students who commit this type of offense face serious academic consequences.

Unintentional Plagiarism

Sometimes students plagiarize unintentionally.  They don't have a great deal of practice at paraphrasing and documenting correctly, and they make errors.

When unintentional plagiarism occurs, it can represent a learning opportunity for students -- a time to seek help from the instructor and additional information about documentation styles and how to use them appropriately.

Please note, though, that even unintentional plagiarism can result in serious academic consequences - depending on the specific context within which the plagiarism occurs.

Additional Resources

For additional information on how to avoid plagiarism, please see the following websites: