Lauren (a student) is busy, and she is considering using someone else's term paper. She's frustrated, unsure about her writing abilities and feels like she is running out of time, but she has other options. She can go to her professor and ask for some suggestions for getting started, or she can talk to a librarian about some resources to use. Even if she doesn't get an A on this paper, she's better off turning in her own work than risking an Academic Integrity Violation. Regardless of where you got the information, using someone else's words IS plagiarism. Information on online is freely available, but someone else did write it, so if you use a quotation or idea from a website, you must cite it, just like it's a book or article.
If you don't cite your sources, you may be commiting plagiarism. Plagiarism is a serious offense. The UNCG Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities defines plagiarism as "representing the words, thoughts, or ideas of another, as one's own in any academic exercise."
Committing plagiarism can result in any of the following:
- receive a zero grade on the plagiarized assignment
- receive an "F" in that course
- be suspended or expelled from the college
You're also cheating yourself out of the whole point of school - exploring topics and forming your own ideas.