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Plagiarism 101 (Ragland): Plagiarism 101

A guide to help students in Professor Ragland's classes avoid plagiarism when conducting research.

What Does Valencia Say?

All forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited at Valencia College. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to:

  • plagiarism
  • cheating
  • furnishing false information
  • forgery
  • alteration or misuse of documents
  • misconduct during a testing situation
  • misuse of identification with intent to defraud or deceive

All work submitted by students is expected to be the result of the students' individual thoughts, research, and self-expression. Whenever a student uses ideas, wording, or organization from another source, the source shall be appropriately acknowledged.


Excerpt from 'POLICY AND PROCEDURE Number: 6Hx28:8-11'

Test Your Knowledge

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the act of intentionally or unintentionally using others' words or ideas without giving proper credit to the original research source. 

There are a few common types of plagiarism:

  • Direct Plagiarism: Deliberately cutting and pasting sections from a research source
  • Accidental Plagiarism: Using ideas from research sources but neglecting to cite where you obtained the information
  • Self-Plagiarism: reusing an old essay from a previous class

The intentions of each type of plagiarism may be different, but the outcome is the same. Plagiarizing another's work will destroy the credibility of your work, and could cause you to fail the assignment or entire class. In the real world, plagiarism has even caused people to lose their jobs, degrees, and positions of power.

Examples of Plagiarism

Original Text: Valencia produced more associate's degree graduates in 2003 than any other two-year school in the nation. Among the top 100 universities, colleges and community colleges, Valencia once again ranked 2nd in the number of associate's degrees conferred. In Florida alone, Valencia graduates more Hispanics and Asian Americans than any other two-year school in the state.

Direct Plagiarism (copy and paste): Valencia produced more associate's degree graduates in 2003 than all other community colleges in the countryWithin the top 100 universities, colleges and community colleges, Valencia was 2nd in the amount of associate's degrees awarded. Valencia graduates more Hispanics and Asian Americans than any other two-year school in the state.

Accidental Plagiarism (paraphrase without citation): Valencia delivered a greater number of associate's degree graduates in 2003 than any other community colleges in the country. (Needs to cite the original text).

Preventing Plagiarism

There are a few basic tips you can follow to avoid plagiarism as you complete assignments:

  • Cite every source you used to write your essay. Every source you consult for your essay should be cited, whether you use a quote, paraphrase, or simply get an idea from it which you put into your own words.
  • Keep track of your sources as you conduct research. As you read and collect sources for your essay, be sure to keep track of where they are coming from. It can be very difficult to backtrack and find a research source based on a quote or photograph of a book page.
  • Don't procrastinate! If you're panicking to finish an essay at the last minute, you may be tempted to take shortcuts which can be costly.
  • Use a plagiarism checker. If you are concerned about plagiarism, use a free plagiarism checker web site. You can upload your essay or copy/paste excerpts into these sites, and they will search for the text of your essay across the internet to see if any matches come up. You can find a list of free plagiarism checking web sites in the right column of this page.
  • When in doubt, cite your source! You won't get in trouble for citing unnecessarily. Not citing when needed is what will get you in trouble.

The general rule of thumb is to cite anything that is not your original thought. Did you think of the information in your essay on your own, or are your ideas influenced by articles or books you've read doing research? You must always cite your sources when using the following in an essay:

  • Quotes copied from a source
  • Information you've paraphrased or put into your own words from a source
  • Photographs, illustrations, charts, graphs, or any visuals you did not create on your own
  • Statistics based on the research of others, or involving evidence from outside sources

There are a few situations where citations are unnecessary. These include:

  • Your own thoughts, ideas, or opinions
  • Common knowledge (for example, the name of the President of the US or that Valencia College is located in Orlando)
  • Common sayings or phrases

Plagiarism Checkers

The following tools support text or document uploads and will provide some form of free plagiarism report.