Plagiarism occurs when you use another person's verbal or written words or text in your own work without appropriately documenting the source of the borrowed words or text. The borrowed text could come from a variety of places, such as a book, a newspaper, a magazine, a website, or even another student's paper.
The WCC Academic Honesty Policy states:
Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person’s ideas, research, or writing as your own. Examples include:
Copying another person’s actual words without both the use of quotations and documentation.
Presenting another person’s ideas or theories in your own words without documentation.
Using information that is not considered common knowledge without acknowledging the source.
Using a paper writing “service” or having a friend write the paper for you.
Note: The guidelines that define plagiarism also apply to information secured on internet websites. Internet references must specify precisely where the information was obtained and where it can be found.
You may think that citing another author’s work will lower your grade. In some unusual cases this may be true, if your instructor has indicated that you must write your paper without reading additional material. But in fact, as you progress in your studies, you will be expected to show that you are familiar with important work in your field and can use this work to further your thinking. Your professors write this kind of paper all the time. The key to avoiding plagiarism is that you show clearly where your own thinking ends and someone else’s begins.
No matter where the text comes from, it must be documented accurately. Accurate documentation means that you must follow the MLA (Modern Language Association) or APA (American Psychological Association) rules for documentation.