Skip to Main Content

Atrium - Cabarrus Teammates LibGuide: Plagiarism

Guide for Atrium Cabarrus Staff to assist with researching


Copyright and Plagiarism!

Just because something is not under copyright does not mean you can use it without crediting the creator! If you use something without giving that person appropriate credit, this is PLAGIARISM!!

Plagiarism is not tolerated at Atrium Health!

What is Plagiarism

What is Plagiarism?

Per, Plagiarism is "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". (  Basically, if you use words or ideas of someone else and DO NOT CREDIT THAT PERSON, that is plagiarism.

1.  Accidental Plagiarism - when a student does not know how to cite correctly or how to properly attribute works and/or ideas that belong to others.  This can include not knowing when to properly attribute other's works and/or ideas.

2.  Intentional Plagiarism -  when a student knowingly takes credit for someone else's work by copying/pasting (either portion or entire works) without citation or attribution or purchasing a paper written by someone else (either one person or an online "paper mill").

3.  Self-Plagiarism - when you reuse a work that you created before.  Yes, you can plagiarize yourself!.  If you even use a portion of a work you created before without proper citation/attribute, that is self -plagiarism.     

Examples of Plagiarism

There are many ways to Plagiarize a work.  Below are some examples of Plagiarism:

  • Purchasing a work off the internet
  • Using someone else's work, even if you did not pay for it (ie, using your roommate's paper)
  • Copy & Paste a portion of someone else's work into your work and not properly attribute (cite) it
  • Quoting off the internet and not properly attributing (citing) it
  • Creating a citation that does not exist
  • Not crediting or citing someone else's ideas when you paraphrase that idea
  • Reusing your work without properly attributing (citing) it (Self-Plagiarism)


What is Self-Plagiarism?  Self-Plagiarism is using work you had previously created for your current project without proper citation!  Some argue that self-plagiarism is not possible as you are not "stealing" the work since you previously created it.  However, self-plagiarism does misrepresent your work to the reader.  When reading a paper, the reader presumes that any work that is not cited is "original" work.  If you do not cite previous work, you are misrepresenting to the reader that this is "new work" when it is not.  By citing your work, you are telling the reader "yes, this is my work and here is where I first stated this", allowing the reader the opportunity to review the prior work.  Citing previous work actually strengthens your position to the reader. 

If you are preparing a presentation and you are using information that you have previously published (as a paper, poster, or another presentation), you MUST CITE IT like any other reference.

(used with permission from Cyanide and Happiness)

How to Avoid Plagiarism

So I get it - Plagiarism is bad.  So, how do I avoid it?  I have to write this paper and do all of this research.  What can I do to avoid Plagiarizing other people's work?  Here are some TIPS to help AVOID PLAGIARISM:

  1. Start early.  If you start early, you have more time to pay attention and catch errors (such as accidental plagiarism or forgetting to cite a source).  Take the time to thoroughly proofread your paper and make sure that you have cited everything.
  2. Quotes.  If you quote something directly, make sure you properly cite where you found that quote.
  3. Paraphrase.  Make sure that you still give credit to the author if you paraphrase an idea.  Just because it is in your own words does not mean it is your idea.
  4. Add Value.  Mix your ideas and conclusions within your work.  This also shows that you have understood your topic.
  5. Citation.  As you write, make sure you properly cite as you go. There are many benefits to this, including making it harder to forget a source.
  6. Reference PageAs you research, create a reference page.  Add to it as you do your research and you are less likely to forget to add a source when you are finishing your work.
  7. Internet.  Remember, information that is found on the internet needs to be cited.  If you are using information that you found online, it needs to be cited also.
  8. Previous Work.  Even if it something that you have created previously, you will still need to properly cite that work.  Failure to do so is called Self-Plagiarism.
  9. When in Doubt, Ask.  Believe it or not, strong papers have a lot of sources.  If you are in doubt, ask.

Frequently Asked Questions about Plagiarism

  1.   I found a great quote in the book Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin.  The work is in Public Domain, so I can use it without worrying about Plagiarism, right?  NO.  Even though a work is in Public Domain, if you use a work without proper credit, it is Plagiarism.  You may use the quote if you cite the work properly and attribute it to Jane Austin.
  2.  I am going to use a conclusion I found in a study.  I am going to put the information in my own words - I don't need to worry about citing since I will paraphrase the information in my own words, correct?  NO.  You are still using someone else's idea's.  You need to properly cite the source of your research and give credit to the author of the study.
  3.  My brother wrote a paper about my topic, I can use his information and not worry about Plagiarism.  No, you are claiming his work as your own and this is Plagiarism.
  4. I am writing a paper about Shakespeare and I want to quote some  lines of his play Hamlet, how do I do that and avoid Plagiarism?  You need to make sure that the lines are in the proper APA format and you properly attribute the quote per APA guidelines.
  5. So in my paper I want to use a commonly know fact - do I need to cite it?  No.  Commonly known information does not need to be cited.  Information such as "freezing temperature of water is 32° F" or "Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina" does not need to be cited.  If in doubt, ask.
  6. I am building on a previous paper I wrote for situation.  Since this is my own work, I don't need to do anything, right?  Wrong!  If it is for a class, you need to speak to both instructors and make sure they are comfortable with you using a previous work.  If they are, you will still need to cite the work as you would with any other work.  If this is for publication, you will need to cite it!
  7. I wrote my paper and I have a Reference Page; that is all I need, right?  When you review your paper, you need to make sure that you have correctly used in-text citations, quotations, block quotes, paraphrases, and summaries.  Remember, if in doubt, ask.

Plagiarism Definition

Plagiarism is derived from the Latin term plagiarius which means kidnapper.  If you use someone's work without proper credit (citation), you are "kidnapping" their work.  Plagiarism is not tolerated in the academic or professional field.

Plagiarism is "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" (  To avoid plagiarism, every direct quotation must be identified by quotation marks or appropriate indentation.  Direct quotations and paraphrasing must be cited properly according to the accepted formation, such as APA.  Some examples of plagiarism include:

  • Copying word for word (directly quoting) from oral, printed or electronic sources without proper attribution.
  • Paraphrasing without proper attribution (presenting in your own words another person's written words or ideas as if they were your own).
  • Incorporating into your work graphs, drawings, photographs, diagrams, tables, spreadsheets, or other non-textual material from other sources with out proper credit.
  • Reusing work one previously created without proper citation (Self-Plagiarism).

This is not an exclusive list! For more information about Plagiarism, please refer to the website,

Copyright Law

United States Copyright law governs the fair use of copying materials for research.  Please refer to the U.S. Copyright website for more information regarding the rules and regulations regarding copyright.  You can also refer to Frequently Asked Questions about Copyright

Copyright protects various types of works, including literary works, musical works, dramatic works, pictures, graphs, sound recordings and audiovisual works.  This is NOT a comprehensive list.  Copyright laws are defined in the U.S. Code, Title 17 Chapter 1.  For a more user friendly breakdown of the U.S. Code, you can view the information on Cornell Law School website.