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Civil Engineering Research Guide

What is Plagiarism?

Image of a thief running away with an idea.Plagiarism Defined:

“The unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work” (Random House Dictionary of the English Language, 1987, p. 1479)
The Canadian Oxford Dictionary states that to plagiarize is to “take and use the thoughts, writings, inventions, etc. of another person as one’s own” (Canadian Oxford Dictionary, 2004, p. 1186)

  • The Latin root of the word plagiarism is plagiarius, or kidnapper!
  • Plagiarism is both THEFT and FRAUD
  • Whether accidental (‘innocent plagiarism’) or deliberate, it is still plagiarism, and a serious academic offense

Plagiarism is committed when you do not acknowledge using someone else's:

  • words or phrases
  • ideas or thoughts
  • term paper
  • recording
  • images
  • computer code
  • experiment results
  • lecture content
  • falsified data, citations or other text
  • OR your own previously submitted work


Plagiarized materials can come from:

  • books
  • journal articles
  • CD's
  • encyclopedias
  • web pages
  • online term papers
  • email or listservs
  • talks or lectures



Plagiarism at Dalhousie University is defined as: "the submission or presentation of the work of another as if it were one's own." (

  • Plagiarism is a serious academic offence
  • It can result in: a failing grade on an assignment, failing a course, you could be suspended or expelled from the University
  • If plagiarism is discovered after a student has graduated, the degree could be rescinded (taken back).


Academic Integrity Tutorial

When it Doubt, Cite

An image of the text: When in doubt, cite it!