Plagiarism is an important thing to avoid in writing a paper. Because it's possible to plagiarize by accident, it's important to understand what does and does not constitute plagiarism.
Plagiarism is the "theft of someone else's words, work or ideas" (McMillan 2001)  
From a student handing in a paper that she/he has printed off the web or "borrowed" from a friend to a student copying whole passages from a book into his/her paper, plagiarism comes in varying degrees. The diagram on the right illustrates the varying degrees to which plagiarism may occur:
At UBC, if you plagiarize, you could receive a zero on your assignment, or even face suspension from the university. See the UBC Calendar for more details. It is very important, therefore, to learn strategies that will help you to avoid unknowingly plagiarizing another author's work and/or ideas. We're going to show you three strategies you can use early in your research process to ensure that your final product is your own work!
1. McMillan, V.E. 2001. Writing papers in the biological sciences. Bedford/St. Martin's, Boston, Mass. Chart from: Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL). [ ] Actions that might be seen as plagiarism. Available from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/589/01/. [Accessed August 2011. Note: chart from old version of site.](McMillan 2001)
2. Chart from: Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL). [ ] Actions that might be seen as plagiarism. Available from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/589/01/>. [Accessed August 2011. Note: chart from old version of site.]