Skip to Main Content

Avoiding Plagiarism

Strategies and resources to help students with citing appropriately and avoiding plagiarism.

Connect With Us!


T 407.679.0100 x.8438

F 407.551.2039


3300 University Blvd., Building FS3E

​Winter Park, FL 32792

Understanding Plagiarism

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, plagiarism or to plagiarize means "to use the words or ideas of another person as if they were your own words or ideas." This includes:

  • Stealing and passing off the work of another as your own;
  • Using another's production (e.g., music, computer code, scripts) without giving credit;
  • Present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source;
  • To commit literary theft.

Plagiarize. (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2016, from

Further, challenges of plagiarism can be applied to the organizational structure and sequencing of ideas in a written or performed work. A contemporary example of this is the 2016 RNC campaign speech given by Melania Trump that was almost identical in words, ideas and sequencing to the one presented by Michelle Obama in 2008.

Merleaux, A. (2016, July 22). Scholars do, in fact, agree on basics of plagiarism [Letters to the Editor]. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from

Full Sail has the expectation that students will act with integrity at all times, especially as it applies to academic performance. The university defines academic dishonesty as "obtaining credit for work that is not a student's own." This includes:

  • cheating;
  • plagiarism;
  • unauthorized use of other's materials;
  • unauthorized possession of other's materials;
  • sharing work with others with the intention of helping others to cheat.

Consult the Full Sail University Student Manual, Standards of Behavior: Academic Dishonesty (pp. 16-17) for definitions and consequences of engaging in academic dishonesty.


Plagiarism comes in a variety of forms; some is obvious while other forms fall in gray areas.

  • Buying, borrowing, stealing papers;
  • Copying complete texts, including books, chapters, articles, scripts without giving credit;
  • Copying materials from websites (portions or whole pages) without giving credit;
  • Claiming computer code, apps, lyrics, music scores as one's own;
  • Reproducing visual materials, such as photos, diagrams or illustrations, without giving credit;
  • Paraphrasing others' ideas or words without giving credit;
  • Copying unique phrases without giving credit.

Self-Plagiarism: While plagiarism refers to the uncredited use of work by others, self-plagiarism refers to the use of one's own previously published work (or in the case of class assignments previously submitted and graded work) as if it is new. The test for self-plagiarism is determining whether you are building on previous work and contributing something new, or if you are passing off previous work as something new and original.

At Full Sail University the consequences of Academic Dishonesty range from non-acceptance of work submitted and a failing grade for first-time offenders to immediate suspension with a dismissal hearing for second offenses. Consult the Full Sail University Student Manual, Standards of Behavior: Academic Dishonesty (pp. 16-17) for definitions and consequences of engaging in academic dishonesty.

The Writing Center