Preventing plagiarism begins by teaching students what constitutes plagiarism and why it is a problem.


It is crucial to offer students a specific and unequivocal definition of plagiarism, so they are clear about the behaviors that are included. Most definitions of plagiarism are brief and simple. Some make the point that intent is not relevant; it is the nature of the product that matters.

Examples of Definitions:

  • Plagiarism is the use of another’s work, words, or ideas without attribution.
    Yale University Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning​​​​​​​
  • To use, steal or represent the ideas, words or products of another as your own ideas, words or products. Use of someone else’s ideas, words or products without giving credit to the author or originator is considered plagiarism. When using or quoting word for word the words of another person it must be acknowledged.  Summarizing or paraphrasing the words or ideas of another without giving that person credit is also plagiarism.
    Arizona State University Library​​​​​​
  • This site, from the University of Washington School of Social Work, lists and explains for students the most common types of plagiarism:
    Academic Honesty: Cheating & Plagiarism
  • This site describes four types of plagiarism, which are all violations of policies regarding academic honesty and integrity: direct, self, mosaic, and accidental.
    The Common Types of Plagiarism
  • This site differentiates between plagiarism and misuse of sources. It claims that “ethical writers make every effort to acknowledge sources fully and appropriately in accordance with the contexts and genres of their writing,“ which is different than not using appropriate citation formatting.
    What is Plagiarism?

Raise Ethical Issues

Students should be encouraged to consider the ethical implications of plagiarism, from both a personal perspective and the perspective of the professions that they are about to join. This discussion can be part of a larger discussion on academic integrity, trust, and taking responsibility for one’s behavior.

Additionally, professional organizations have principles and guidelines that prohibit plagiarism, and students should be informed of these expectations. Specifically, plagiarism of any type violates the following professional codes:

  • American Psychological Association’s
    Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct 
    11 Plagiarism
    Psychologists do not present portions of another’s work or data as their own, even if the other work or data source is cited occasionally.
  • American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
    Code of Ethics 
    8 PlagiarismMarriage and family therapists who are the authors of books or other materials that are published or distributed do not plagiarize or fail to cite persons to whom credit for original ideas or work is due.
  • The American Counseling Association 
    2014 Code of Ethics
    5. Publications and Presentations
    G.5.a. Use of Case Examples. The use of participants’, clients’, students’, or supervisees’ information for the purpose of case examples in a presentation or publication is permissible only when (a) participants, clients, students, or supervisees have reviewed the material and agreed to its presentation or publication or (b) the information has been sufficiently modified to obscure identity.​​​​​​​G.5.b. Plagiarism. Counselors do not plagiarize; that is, they do not present another person’s work as their own.G.5.c. Acknowledging Previous Work. In publications and presentations, counselors acknowledge and give recognition to previous work on the topic by others or self.​​​​​​​G.5.d. Contributors. Counselors give credit through joint authorship, acknowledgment, footnote statements, or other appropriate means to those who have contributed significantly to research or concept development in accordance with such contributions. The principal contributor is listed first, and minor technical or professional contributions are acknowledged in notes or introductory statements.
  • The National Board of Certified Counselors 
    Code of Ethics
    NCCs shall take credit only for work that they have performed, and when quoting the work of others, shall provide appropriate references.
  • The California Bar 
    Rule 8.4 Misconduct​​​​​​​
    Section 8.4 MisconductIncludes: (c) in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud,* deceit, or reckless or intentional misrepresentation.​​​​​​​
  • The Legal Writing Instituted published a report on Law School Attribution v. Proper Attribution and generated a set of rules for working with authority.
    A Publication of the Legal Writing Institute