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Academic Honesty: Home

Resources for students and faculty on academic honesty and plagiarism

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is using someone else's words, art, data, or ideas and passing them off as your own.​ Cutting and pasting is so easy that many people plagiarize without meaning to.

You Might be Plagiarizing...

You might be plagiarizing if you...

  • Submit someone else's work as your own.
  • Buy a paper from a papermill, website, or other source.
  • Cut and paste together phrases, ideas, and sentences from a variety of sources to write an essay
  • Copy words, art, or data from someone else's work--published or unpublished--without giving the original author credit.

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Consequences of Plagiarism

When you plagiarize, you lose the opportunity to learn and practice skills you'll need in your profession, and you also lose the opportunity to receive honest feedback from your professors.

In addition, plagiarism is a serious academic offense. USM regards plagiarism as academic dishonesty and consequences include: 


  • Failing an assignment
  • Receiving a lower course grade
  • Failing a course
  • Getting expelled


How to Avoid Plagiarizing

When using someone else's words or ideas in your research paper, avoid plagiarizing by either quoting or paraphrasing them and then cite the author.


  • ​Quoting means using someone else's exact words.
  • Paraphrasing is putting someone else's words or ideas into your own words.
  • Citing means giving basic information about the original source you used—enough that someone else could track it down.


Use direct quotes and paraphrasing to support your own ideas, not replace them — and be sure you always give the original author credit.