Welcome to this short module on plagiarism.  My name is Honesty and I will be your guide through this module.  As you may know, writing research papers is not an easy task -- especially when you need to cite your sources.  Accidental plagiarism occurs when students are unaware of the content they need to cite, don't cite sources properly, or don't give sources credit.  Let's go through this module and learn to avoid plagiarism

Let's stop for a moment and discuss what plagiarism is. Plagiarism is defined as passing off someone else's work as your own. "Work" can be defined as someone else's words OR someone else's ideas. “Plagiarism” is derived from the Latin word, plagium, which means kidnapping.  

University of Hawaii's View of Academic Honesty

In some academic cultures plagiarism may not be mentioned often or punished.  However, at most American colleges and universities plagiarism results in a failing grade and, sometimes, in a student's dismissal. At the University of Hawaii, its Student Code of Conduct states "The integrity of a university depends upon academic honesty, which consists of independent learning and research. Academic dishonesty includes cheating and plagiarism. ... violations of the Student Conduct Code ... may result in suspension or expulsion from the University."   Excerpt taken from the 2003-2004 UH Manoa Catalog.


By the end of this module, you will learn to avoid plagiarism by:

  • defining plagiarism
  • identifying accidental forms of plagiarism
  • identifying intentional forms of plagiarism
  • learning how to handle source material
  • learning how to write from sources
  • learning why students plagiarize
  • learning how plagiarized work is detected


Along the way you will see different icons. You may want to pay special attention to the icons listed below.

This icon indicates important information such as definitions, recommendations, or guidelines.
A Thumbs Up icon indicates a good example.
A Thumbs Down icon indicates a bad example.
This icon indicates that it is your turn to participate.  Read the directions of the activity and answer to the best of your knowledge. Click on the link below the activity/question to compare your answer. 
If you're ready, click on the What is Plagiarism hyperlink in the left hand column to continue!  We will discuss what is considered plagiarism in the next section.

*Note* The content of this module was derived from its original version in WebCT. The full version of this module is available as a WebCT IMS Content Package at:

Created by: Marilyn Bauer and Jacie Moriyama for Leeward Community College
Last Updated: November 1, 2004


What is Plagiarism?

Forms of Plagiarism


Avoiding Plagiarism

Detection of Plagiarism

Works Cited