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Plagiarism   Tags: plagiarism, writing guide  

Plagiarism is copying the work of others and claiming it as your own.
Last Updated: May 16, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
Writing Guides: Plagiarism Print Page

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is copying the work of others and claiming it as your own. Intentional plagiarism is cheating.

According to the
Council of Writing Program Administrators:

"In an instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source. This definition applies to texts published in print or on-line, to manuscripts, and to the work of other student writers."

At CSUS, it may result in a lowered grade, a failed grade for the course, suspension, or even expulsion.

Often, the writer does not intend to plagiarize but has failed to cite sources properly. It is important to avoid plagiarism by understanding what needs to be cited and how to properly cite all sources used.

CSU, Sacramento University Policy Manual

CSUS document outlining academic integrity responsibilities of students and faculty.


Tips for Students

  • Use quotation marks every time you use someone else's words.
  • Cite all work that isn't your own or that isn't common knowledge. If you aren't sure if something is common knowledge - cite it. It is better to cite something than to not cite it.
  • Be careful about paraphrasing. Paraphrasing can include the words or ideas of others or it may also be a restatement, in your own words, of the words or ideas of others. In each case, the original work/ideas/words must be cited. If you aren't sure then cite it.
  • Learn the proper format for citing your sources. The CSUS Library has short guides for APA, MLA, and Chicago style. These guide do not contain examples for all sources. You may have to use the complete manual for the appropriate style. The style manuals are also available in the Library.

Sources for Students

See the sites below for specific examples on plagiarism and on documenting sources to avoid plagiarism.

Sources for Educators


Contact Information

Contact Leilani Hall with questions or comments about this Research Guide. Thanks to Debbie Rogenmoser for her original guide. or 916 278-6422

California State University, Sacramento | University Library | 2000 State University Drive East | Sacramento, CA 95819 | Phone: 916-278-5679


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