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How to Recognize Plagiarism

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This tutorial will help you to understand and recognize plagiarism.

Avoiding plagiarism is important -- both in writing and speaking. When you properly acknowledge the contributions to knowledge made by other people, you are showing respect for their work, and you are giving credit where credit is due. You are not misleading the reader to believe that your work is solely your own.

You can also jump directly to any of these sections within the tutorial by clicking on links in the sidebar to the left. It often takes 1-2 hours to complete this tutorial and pass the test. If you believe that you already understand plagiarism, you can take a 5-minute quiz for a self-check. This tutorial, however, goes into much greater depth and provides more difficult practice. The test you must pass to earn the certificate is also more difficult than the quiz.

The academic community highly values the acknowledgment of other people's contributions to knowledge. The disciplinary consequences of documented plagiarism at Smith College can be severe. As a student you could receive a failing grade, be expelled from the university, or in extreme cases your degree could be revoked if plagiarism is discovered after you have graduated.

Because of the seriousness of plagiarism all Smith College students should complete this tutorial.

You can take the test many times, and there is no penalty for not passing. Your academic program or department may require you to turn in your signed certificate (after you have printed it), which will be kept as evidence that you have confirmed your understanding of plagiarism and how to recognize it. Whether or not you do so, you will be held accountable for understanding and avoiding plagiarism.

To view the Web page with your confirmation certificate, you must score 100% on the test.

The only way that this Web page can be viewed is by correctly answering all test questions. Then you can print that Web page.

Smith College will not send you a confirmation certificate. E-mail requests for certificates will be ignored.

If you need the certificate, then you must answer all questions correctly on this web site. Immediately after you have done so, you will be shown the web page with the certificate. You must print the page at that time. It will contain information about the date and time you passed the test.


This tutorial site was developed by the Instructional Systems Technology Department in the School of Education at Indiana University Bloomington to offer students a chance to learn to recognize plagiarism. The Smith College Information Literacy Team is grateful for permission to use this tutorial as part of its program.

  • Content Design: Elizabeth Boling and Theodore Frick
  • Instructional Development and Formative Evaluation: Meltem Albayrak-Karahan, Joseph Defazio, Noriko Matsumura
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