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WWU Plagiarism Policies and Guidelines: Home

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Plagiarism Overview

Plagiarism Definition and Scenarios

Plagiarism is presenting as one's own in whole or part the argument, language, creations, conclusions, or scientific data of another.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Using another person's written or spoken words verbatim without using quotation marks and complete and proper citation.
  • Using information from a website or other electronic source without complete and proper citation.
  • Using statistics, graphs, charts, and facts without acknowledging their source.
  • Submitting a purchased paper or project written by someone else.
  • Paraphrasing, which is using different words to share someone else's idea or argument, without acknowledgement and proper citation.
  • Claiming credit for someone else's artistic work, such as a drawing, script, musical composition or arrangement.
  • Using someone else's lab report as a source of data or results.
  • Submitting the results of a machine translation or artificial intelligence (AI) program as one's own work.*
  • Using one's own or substantially similar work, produced in connection with one course to fulfill a requirement in another course without prior permission.

The last example above might surprise you—it is possible to plagiarize yourself. If you're using the same or substantially similar work for assignments in two or more classes, you must have the written permission from instructors of all the classes involved.

In other cases, plagiarism can seem more obvious. Is the work you submitted your own and written in your own words? If not, do you cite and credit where the work is from? But consider the examples in the "Is this Plagiarism?" tab above to see how well you recognize plagiarism.

[from the WWU Academic Honesty Policy and Procedure]

*Faculty have different course policies regarding the use of generative AI or not. Make sure you check with your instructor before you use generative AI or chatbots like ChatGPT to complete an assignment. 





The "Plagiarism Spectrum" comes from Turnitin's research study findings on different types of plagiarism. The following infographic is meant to help students and instructors recognize various forms of plagiarism beyond the basic idea that plagiarism is "literary theft" caused by copying someone else's words or ideas. Plagiarism is nuanced and can show up in a variety of ways. 

You can read more about these research findings and examples of the types of plagiarism defined below in Turnitin's white paper.


The plagiarism spectrum 2.0 from

Citation Tutorials

For more video tutorials on research and writing, visit

For text-based style guides on the most commonly used citation styles with links to examples of subject specific styles, visit


Working with Sources: How and When to Cite

University Resources Related to Academic Integrity

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To learn more about understanding and avoiding plagiarism, check out this SPOT module