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RMIT University Library - Learning Lab

Quiz: Is it plagiarism?


Quiz: Is it plagiarism?

Try this short quiz to test your understanding of some of the myths about plagiarism and academic integrity.

Answer "yes" or "no" to the following questions. An explanation is provided for each question.

Question 1

If I'm caught plagiarising, a big red "P" will appear on my academic transcript.
Answer: No.
Feedback: This is not true. However, being caught plagiarising can lead to possible penalties beginning with a warning, through to expulsion from RMIT. It's not worth it.

Question 2

I'm really worried about my grades and I'm buying a good online essay. Could I get caught?
Answer: Yes.
Feedback: Online essays are not written in your writing style so it's easy to detect. If you need help with your assessments, visit the Study and Learning Centre.

Question 3

If I use parts of an essay that I wrote last year, it's not plagiarism - it's good time management.
Answer: No.
Feedback: Sure, you're being resourceful, however, this is called self-plagiarism. You must reference all sources, including yourself!

Question 4

Paraphrasing is easy, you just need to change the words, don't you?
Answer: No.
Feedback: This is still plagiarism! It's known as inadequate paraphrasing. Even if you cite your source, you need to change the words and the structure of the original text. In other words, write it in your own words.

Question 5

Another student in my class is struggling with an essay task. He asked me to send him my essay to help him with ideas. Is this OK?
Answer: No.
Feedback: This is known as collusion, which is a form of plagiarism. Allowing others to copy your work makes you as guilty of plagiarism as the person doing the copying. You may even face the same penalties.

Question 6

Is it plagiarism to copy out big chunks of text, as long as I put them in quotation marks and say where it's from?
Answer: No.
Feedback: It's not plagiarism, however, it's not good practice. Use direct quotes sparingly. Paraphrasing is a better technique to integrate evidence into your writing.

Question 7

Even if my essay passes the plagiarism detector (Turnitin), can my lecturer still claim I plagiarised?
Answer: Yes.
Feedback: Plagiarism software such as Turnitin only checks duplication. There will still be a human reading your work, not just a computer!