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What is plagiarism, and how do I avoid it?

Learn about plagiarism, its consequences, and how to avoid it.



  1. an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author's work as one's own, as by not crediting the original author.
  2. a piece of writing or other work reflecting such unauthorized use or imitation.


PVCC Plagiarism Policy

From the PVCC Student Handbook, page 52:

Piedmont Virginia Community College sets high standards for academic integrity, and takes academic dishonesty very seriously. The following misconduct is considered an honor offense and is subject to disciplinary action:

A. All forms of dishonesty, including cheating, plagiarism, knowingly furnishing false information to the college or instructors, and the forgery, alteration or use of college documents or instruments of identification with the intent to defraud.

1.Plagiarism is the appropriation of passages, either in word or in substance, from the writings of another and the incorporation of those passages as one’s own written work offered for credit. It is always assumed that the written work offered for credit is the student’s own unless proper credit is given to the original author by the use of quotation marks and footnotes or explanatory inserts;

2.Collaboration with another person in the preparation or editing of notes, themes, reports, or other written work offered for credit is prohibited unless such collaboration has been specifically approved in advance by the instructor. Examples of collaboration include extensive use another’s idea for preparing a creative assignment and receiving undue assistance in the preparation or editing of written materials.

3. Giving or receiving, offering or soliciting information on any quiz, test, or examination is prohibited; this includes the following:

    • copying from another student’s paper;
    • use of prepared materials during the examination;
    • collaboration with another student during the examination;
    • buying, selling, stealing, soliciting or transmitting an examination or any material purported to be the unreleased contents of a (coming/pending) examination or the use of any such material;
    • substituting for another person during an examination or allowing such a substitution for one’s self; and
    • bribery of any person to obtain examination information.

4.Using electronic or internet resources without the permission of the instructor, such as a translation program for a foreign language assignment, is prohibited.

5.Knowingly furnishing false information to the college is prohibited.

6.Giving false information as a reason for missing a test or class is prohibited.

7. Forgery, alteration, or misuse of college documents, records, or identification cards is prohibited.