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Understanding Plagiarism

According to Royal Roads University's (2017a) Academic Integrity and Misconduct Policy for Students:

Plagiarism is the act of presenting the ideas or works of another as one's own. This applies to all materials, electronic or in print, including laboratory reports, seminar presentations, computer programs, research projects and results, postings online, in discussion groups, and statistical data. The use of such material either directly or indirectly without proper acknowledgment (i.e., footnotes or endnotes) is contrary to the norms of academic behaviour. (para. 6)


Intentional improper citation may constitute plagiarism such as not using quotation marks when required to indicate other’s work, not acknowledging significant concepts from other’s work even when you paraphrased it, and not actually looking at a source that you quote. (Royal Roads University, 2017, para. 12)

Whether an author accidentally or deliberately plagiarizes, plagiarism is considered a serious breach of RRU's Academic Integrity and Misconduct Policy for Students. Accidental plagiarism usually happens when authors are careless about quoting, paraphrasing, or citing information; deliberate plagiarism requires an author to purposefully copy or otherwise use the work of another author without giving appropriate credit.

Consequences of plagiarism

Royal Roads University has a range of informal and formal procedures to respond to a suspected act of plagiarism, ranging from the student having a conversation with his/her instructor to more formal consequences, such as:

  • a letter of reprimand;
  • a reduction of grade;
  • a probationary period;
  • requiring the student to re-submit an assignment or exam;
  • assigning a grade of F (Fail) for the course;
  • requiring the student to withdraw from a course or program of study; or,
  • recommending the student be suspended or expelled from the university. (Royal Roads University, 2017b, p. 5)

For more information, please see the Academic Integrity and Misconduct Procedures for Students.

More information

For more information and resources, please see the Plagiarism section of the Writing Centre website. To learn how to quote or paraphrase information correctly, please see RRU's subject guide on Quoting, Summarizing, and Paraphrasing. Finally, to learn how to cite sources correctly, please see APA Style.

If you have any questions about plagiarism or citing sources, please contact the Writing Centre.

Theresa Bell
Manager, Blended Learning Success


Royal Roads University. (2017a). Academic integrity and misconduct policy for students.

Royal Roads University. (2017b). Academic integrity and misconduct procedures for students.

(Originally published in Crossroads September 30, 2014; updated August 12, 2020)