Plagiarism is theft and has serious consequences in the academic world as well as in the professional world, so it is important that you understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.
When you use someone else's words, word for word, and do not use quotations and a citation to identify that these words were either spoken by or written by someone else, this is plagiarism. This is the most blatant form of plagiarism, but there are other practices that also constitute plagiarism. When you restate in your own words someone else's words or ideas, but do not cite the information or give credit to the person who originally had this thought, this is also considered plagiarism.
Plagiarism is not limited to words. It is important that you also give credit to artists and photographers for any images that you may utilize in your work, be it included in a research paper or a class presentation.
Did you know that you can also plagiarize yourself? Recycling your own written material to fulfill the requirements of another class is considered plagiarism. If you want to expound upon previous research that you have conducted, contact your instructor prior to beginning the assignment to see if you might be able to use your former research as a basis for, not a replacement for, your current assignment.