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Avoiding Plagiarism Tutorial

A tutorial to help you learn about and avoid plagiarism in your academic work.


What is Plagiarism?


Plagiarism is the act of using another person's words or ideas without clearly acknowledging the source of the information that you have used.  

Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to:

  • copying, buying or obtaining in another way an essay, project, visual art piece, programming code, or other type of work and then submitting it as your own work. This includes buying a paper from a research service or a paper mill, or obtaining a paper written by a peer, relative, or friend and submitting it as your own.
  • 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;
  • submitting work that has been altered by someone else (e.g., web sites) as your own;
  • having someone else modify or correct your work and then submit the work as your own; and/or
  • not giving credit to a person with whom one has collaborated to create a product. All individuals who have contributed ideas or insights into the work produced should be acknowledged.

Seem straight forward??  Well, in fact, there are many "shades" of plagiarism.  Have you ever unwittingly (or wittingly!) committed these types of plagiarism?


Consequences for Plagiarizing


As described by the University of Texas (2011), Plagiarism affects 3 key areas:

Your individual professional and academic integrity. "While there are certain to be immediate consequences tied to accusations of plagiarism, such as failing a course, you're also devaluing your original work and bringing into question the legitimacy of your other accomplishments."

The academic integrity of your school and the value of your degree. "Widespread accusations of plagiarism at a [post-secondary institution] hurt the reputation of that school and its graduates and can affect the value of your degree from that institution in the marketplace when you're looking for a job after graduation."

Your future professional and personal integrity. "Plagiarized work you submit now can come back to haunt you. Additionally, once you've graduated and entered the workforce, there can be legal and long-lasting professional consequences for representing the work of others as your own in a situation where you're being financially compensated for that work."


At Okanagan College, every case of plagiarism is treated seriously with a range of possible consequences. Penalties depend on whether the offense is unintentional or intentional and whether it was a first or repeat offense.

For the most severe or repeated cases, a student may be suspended from the College.


  1. Sheridan College. (2006). Academic Integrity. Retrieved from
  2. University of Texas Libraries. (2011). Consequences of Plagiarism - Video Transcript. Retrieved from
  3. Okanagan College. (2018). Academic Integrity. Retrieved from


  • Read through the Plagiarism box and complete the What is Plagiarism quiz [reading and quiz, approx. 5 minutes]
  • Optional:
    • To test your skills further, click on the 10 minute Sheridan College You Quote it, You Note it interactive tutorial
    • See how plagiarism has affected real people (outside of school!)-- read an article from the Plagiarism in the News box 

Plagiarism in the News

Read the article about US Senator John Walsh to see how plagiarism charges in school can affect someone's career years later. The other articles discuss plagiarism in professional settings and the consequences:

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