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This guide is designed to help you recognize various types of plagiarism and develop strategies for avoiding it.


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Laura Mondt
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Haverhill, MA
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NECC Academic Ethics and Plagiarism Policy

The NECC Academic Ethics and Plagiarism Policy defines plagiarism as "the use of any other person's research, images, words or ideas as though they were your own, without giving appropriate credit to the original source." If you are caught plagiarising, disciplinary action may be taken against you.

Why is plagiarism a big deal?

Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty, which means you aren't respecting the integrity of someone else's work. When you plagiarize, you are presenting someone else's work as your own without giving them credit for the work they put in.  Imagine if you discovered someone was using pieces of your papers without your knowledge. 

Academic scholarship is built off of collaborative sharing of ideas.  Using someone else's idea to make a point is fine but you must give them credit so people reading your work know who originally came up with the idea. Your credibility as a college student is on the line if you are caught plagiarizing.

Plagiarism in the real world

Plagiarism isn't something that happens only in school.  Some well-known people have been caught plagiarizing in the following examples.

Jane Goodall

The famous primatologist's book Seeds of Hope contained several plagiarized passages.  Goodall said she did not do it intentionally and placed the blame on sloppy notetaking. Read more here.

Joe Biden

The current President/former Vice President plagiarized parts of his speeches during the 1988 presidential race and plagiarized a paper in law school. Read more here and here.

Fareed Zakaria

The columnist has been accused of plagiarism involving several columns he wrote for major publications, including the Washington Post and Newsweek. Read more here and here.

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