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Copyright and Plagiarism Guide for Students: Information for Students

A guide to give students an overview of copyright law, fair use, plagiarism, and the importance of attribution (citation).



Common Knowledge: Information that is widely known, easily verified, not readily attributable to a single originator or source and therefore does not need to be cited; however, what may be common knowledge in one culture, nation, academic discipline, or peer group may NOT be common knowledge in another.


Plagiarism: Is knowingly or unknowingly taking another person’s words, language, thoughts, ideas and/or expressions and presenting them as your own original work.


Attribution: Giving credit for writing, art, formula, or other ideas to the originator. (Example: Citing the original author of an idea used in research.)

Research Video

types of plagiarism

Types of Plagiarism

Direct Plagiarism (a.k.a. Copy & Paste) – to copy word for word text from original source material and use it without  attribution.


Mosaic Plagiarism (a.k.a. Scaffolding or Rogeting) – to use phrases and ideas from a source without quotation or attribution often by finding synonyms for the author’s original language while keeping the same format and/or structure found in the original work.


Self Plagiarism – to use one’s own previous work from another class or situation without citing that you used it before.