Guide to Plagiarism

28 May 2022

In this post, I will detail what plagiarism is, why it's important to not plagiarise, and how it can be avoided. 

What is Plagiarism?

The University of Arizona defines plagiarism as the following:

"Plagiarism is when you take another person's words or ideas and try to pass them off as your own. This includes taking information from web pages, articles, books, blogs, or any other source, and not giving credit to the original author."

One obvious example of plagiarism is where you copy and paste large chunks of text without giving credit to the initial owner. There may also be instances where you copy and paste large chunks of text and try to credit the source of the work but are still plagiarising. This may happen where you credit the source incorrectly. 

Moreover, websites may have terms and conditions for how and where you can republish their work. Most media companies will not allow you to republish or share their work even if you give adequate credit for a commercial purpose (i.e. money generation). Here's an example from media company, Conde Nast:

Source: Conde Nast (2021)

What Isn't Plagiarism

Plagiarism doesn't include the following:

  • Combining the ideas and work of others to reach original conclusions about a particular topic provided that you acknowledge where these ideas have come from.
  • Writing ideas or commonly used expressions where there is no alternative way of expressing them. 

There are also some media sites that allow you to republish their articles online for free provided that you give appropriate credit. An example is The Conversation which allows you to republish their articles for free provided that you adhere to their terms of use.

Other Dishonesty Matters

Alternatively, other dishonesty matters that may arise include the following:

  • Recycling your own work (i.e. copying and pasting it for another use). 
  • Fabricating information, including making links to sources and citations that don't exist. 

Why Avoiding Plagiarism is Important

Creators of written works put large amounts of time and effort into researching articles, thinking of ideas and writing it all for their readers to enjoy. It's important that we respect this and honour other people's rights by avoiding plagiarism. 
Plagiarising can also have significant consequences for you should to plagiarise a source. If sufficiently serious, you face the risk of being sued by the original owner. Moreover, a finding of plagiarism in academic spheres or work may impact your future career prospects. 


How to Avoid Plagiarism

Here are some guidelines for avoiding plagiarism.


  • Read articles to get ideas but make sure you reference these ideas properly.
  • Use the ideas of others and statistics to reach original conclusions. Again, make sure these ideas are adequately referenced.


  • Copy and paste other people's work.
  • Forget to give credit to the sources of the work.
  • Pass of other peoples' ideas as your own. 

Final Thoughts

Plagiarism is a significant issue especially given that information is readily available on the internet. Regardless, it is important that we remain honest with our work and recognise the work of others. That's what being part of a writing community is all about!! 


[1] The University of Arizona Global Campus, 'Plagiarism Guide' (online, 2022) <>. 

[2] Conde Nast, 'User Agreement' (online, 1st January 2021) <>. 

[3] The University of Sydney, 'Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism' (online, 2nd February 2021) <>.

[4] The Conversation, 'Republishing Guidelines' (online, 2022) <>. 

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