Some actions are obviously plagiarism, such as buying a paper, hiring someone to write your paper or copying a large portion of a text without acknowledgement. Intentional plagiarism is a violation of professional ethics. However, most people plagiarize unintentionally, through ignorance of what constitutes plagiarism. However, unintentional plagiarism is still a violation of professional ethics, even if it is done inadvertently.
Below are three key areas on which people may plagiarize:
Original ideas of others:
You plagiarize if you use the original ideas of others AND
You plagiarize if you are directly quoting someone else's words AND
You plagiarize if you paraphrase (i.e. rephrase) someone else's ideas AND
Here are the most common forms of plagiarism:
Reference: Harris, Robert A. (2001). The plagiarism handbook. Los Angeles: Pyczark Publishing.
Common knowledge is something that most people already know. There is no clear boundary on what is regarded as common knowledge. Below are some examples:
Commonly reported facts - facts that are generally known by a vast population and can be found in numerous places:
Easily observable information
When in doubt, cite!
(1) Borger, J. (2009, Oct. 9). More no-Bush than Nobel. Guardian.co.uk. Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/oct/09/obama-nobel-peace-prize/