Q. What is plagiarism? How can I make sure I am not plagiarizing?

Answer

This is the definition of plagiarism as it appears in the Rasmussen College course catalog and syllabi:

Plagiarism is the act of representing an individual's or organization's words, thoughts, or ideas as one's own.  Examples include:

  1. Using information (a paraphrase or quotation, in whole or in part) from a source without attempting to give credit to the author of that source.
  2. Using charts, illustrations, images, figures, equations, etc., without citing the source.
  3. Using an academic paper (in whole or in part) purchased or copied from a ghostwriter or paper/essay mill.
  4. Copyright infringement or piracy, including the use, alteration, or duplication of media, software, code, or information when expressly prohibited or where copyright exists or is implied.

To ensure you are not plagiarizing, always cite (document) your sources when you refer to information you learned during your research or study.  Even if you've summarized the information or if you've rephrased it into your own words, you still need to cite the source of the information.

Remember the basic rule of plagiarism:  if you use, mention, refer to, quote, summarize, paraphrase, describe...someone's else's ideas or facts, other than your own, you must cite them.  There is the whole area of "common knowledge," example: the United States has 50 states, which you do not have to cite.  


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  • Last Updated Jun 29, 2020
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  • Answered By Ashley Fyvie, Nursing Librarian

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