Understanding Academic Integrity and Plagiarism for Students

Plagiarism is perhaps the most common form of academic dishonesty.  However, there are many types of plagiarism, and most plagiarism is not intentional. Frequently, it is the result of taking insufficient notes when reading your sources. Below are several types of plagiarism of which you should be aware.

Accidental Plagiarism

  • Forgetting to place quotation marks around another's words
  • Omitting a source citation for another's idea because you are unaware
  • Carelessly copying a source which you mean to paraphrase

Deliberate Plagiarism

  • Copying a phrase, sentence, or passage from a source and passing it off as your own
  • Summarizing or paraphrasing someone else's ideas without acknowledging your debt
  • Handing in a paper you bought or had a friend write or copied from another student


Using people’s ideas and properly citing them shows an appreciation of the work of others in your field of research.  Integrating sources into your own work demonstrates your ability to use theories/models/statistics, etc. to support your argument.  Readers want to know how you have made your assumptions, and using sources verifies your claims.

Learning to integrate others' work and ideas into your own is important in many facets of your life. It affects your:

  • Individual academic integrity and academic progress
  • Institutional academic integrity and the value of your degree
  • Future professional and personal integrity

The LSA Student Honor Council is a great source for additional information on understanding academic integrity at U-M.

Page maintained by Doreen R Bradley
Last modified: 10/06/2014