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   According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, the word, “plagiarize means:  to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of others) as one’s own:  use (another’s production) without crediting the source:  to commit literary theft:  present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.

   There are many reasons why students plagiarize, and they are either intentional or unintentional.  Some of the intentional reasons include:  Students think that they can get by with plagiarizing as their instructor will not notice; they can manipulate papers or information that they find on the web; they know that their peers are also plagiarizing; and, quickly approaching deadlines prevent them from writing in their own words.  Some unintentional reasons for students plagiarizing include:   They forget to cite the source or use quotation marks; they paraphrase incorrectly by not changing enough or changing too much of the text; they are unaware of how to properly cite the source; and they could not locate the source so they fail to cite it.

   According to, all of the following are considered plagiarism:

  • turning in someone else's work as your own
  • copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
  • failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
  • copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not  

   Nevertheless, there are ways to avoid plagiarizing.  Students can educate themselves on plagiarism by viewing the plagiarism tutorial that was created by Bellevue University’s Center for Learning Innovation (formerly College of Distributed Learning) area or by submitting papers and assignments through plagiarism prevention resources such as Turnitin.  In addition, students can visit Bellevue University’s Writing Center for assistance (Phone:  402-557-5449 or Email:  Lastly, the links below are valuable tutorials and websites that may provide students a better understanding of plagiarism.

Helpful Plagiarism Resources:


plagiarize. (2010). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.  Retrieved July 29, 2010, from

What is Plagiarism? (n.d.) Retrieved July 30, 2010, from


Other Plagiarism Resources: