What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism has been technically defined as: “the act of incorporating ideas, words, or specific substance of another, whether purchased, borrowed, or otherwise obtained, and submitting same to the university as one's own work to fulfill academic requirements without giving credit to the appropriate source. Plagiarism shall include but not be limited to: submitting work, either in part or in whole, completed by another; omitting footnotes for ideas, statements, facts, or conclusions that belong to another; omitting quotation marks when quoting directly from another, whether it be a paragraph, sentence, or part thereof; close and lengthy paraphrasing of the writings of another; submitting another person's artistic works, such as musical compositions, photographs, paintings, drawings, or sculptures; and submitting as one's own work papers purchased from research companies” (Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities, SDSU).

Consequences of plagiarism:

  • Any form of plagiarism, or cheating, on written assignments or exams can be appropriately scored with zero points or an “F” by the instructor.
  • Any form of plagiarism, or cheating, on a final research paper or project can appropriately result in an “F” for the final course grade.

To Avoid Plagiarism


  • Acknowledge the work of other people
  • Acknowledge someone else’s ideas, statistics, graphs, or images with proper citations
  • Add quotation marks around someone else’s words and Add proper citations
  • Use entirely different words when paraphrasing someone else’s words and add proper citations
  • Ask questions before turning in your assignments

Books on Writing and Citation in History

For examples on how to add proper citations in the form of footnotes, endnotes, or parenthetical citations consult the most recent editions of The Chicago Manual of Style or any of the following short writing guides: 

  • Jules Benjamin, A Student’s Guide to History.
  • Bradford Brown, Creating History Papers.
  • Diana Hacker, A Pocket Style Manual.
  • Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History.

Online Guides to Writing and Citation in History