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BCIT Student Guide to Avoiding Plagiarism

This guide is intended to help students understand plagiarism, a form of copyright violation. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense and is a prohibited behaviour at BCIT.


The BCIT Library acknowledges the unceded territories of the Coast Salish Nations of xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musquem), səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), on which our BCIT main campuses are located.

Plagiarism & BCIT Policy

BCIT Student Academic Integrity & Appeals Policy 5104 describes plagiarism as a prohibited behaviour.

"2.1 Plagiarism

Academic integrity requires that persons do not falsely claim credit for the ideas, writing, or other intellectual property of others, either by presenting such works as their own or through impersonation." (BCIT Academic Integrity and Appeals Policy, Number 5104, 2009, p.3)

Plagiarism may be inadvertent if the student does not have the appropriate research skills or knowledge to paraphrase and cite their information sources correctly. Or, it may be deliberate if the student knowingly presents someone else's work as their own.

Common examples of plagiarism include:

  • Omitting placing quotation marks when citing exact words from a published source,
  • Paraphrasing without documenting your source,
  • Copying from a source without proper acknowledgement, or
  • Buying a paper from a research service or fellow student.

Confirmed acts of inadvertent or deliberate plagiarism can result in serious disciplinary action.

The Importance of Competent Research Skills

Knowledge and use of competent research skills will help you avoid inadvertent plagiarism. Here are some ideas to keep in mind when conducting your subject material research:

  • Use reliable information from academic or scholarly sources, you will start to recognize common knowledge.
  • In your note taking, document your source for content where you have paraphrased.
  • Learn how to paraphrase. It is a skill. Paraphrasing is legitimate in writing papers when the source is cited.
    • Paraphrasing is using your own words to convey someone else's ideas and information in an original way.
    • Paraphrasing is usually more detailed than a summary, which is often concentrated on a main idea.
    • You know that you have understood the meaning of the original work when you are able to explain it in your own words.
  • Know the style and rules of citation that your instructor(s) want you to use.
  • Include a citation at all times when you use someone else's ideas, words or data.
  • Record your sources as you do your research and include all of them in your bibliography or reference list. It is time consuming and difficult to go back later.
  • Familiarize yourself with the common knowledge in your field. When in doubt, consult your instructor.
  • Evaluate your information sources for accuracy, currency, objectivity, authority and completeness of content.
  • Always use quotation marks if you are using someone else's exact words.
  • Ask a Librarian for assistance with research.

Below are some other LibGuides that might be useful: