“If you steal from one author, it's plagiarism;
if you steal from many, it's research."
Wilson Mizner, 1876–1933
Of course American Playwright Mizner was only joking. Acknowledging the sources of your ideas and citing the works of other writers are actually important aspects of academic writing. They help you to
It is right to give credit to authors whose ideas you use, just as you would expect others to give credit to your ideas.
Adapted from Bowman (2009) and Valenza (2004)
Will I be punished if I plagiarised accidental?
Every case is different and will be judged differently. However, pleading ignorance or claiming that the plagiarism is accidental will not be enough. It is always a good idea to include full citation details when taking notes to help avoid accidental plagiarism. Refer to the library's resources on citation and referencing for help.
What if I write something and find the same idea in a book?
That's too bad, they got there first! You will still have to cite the published source.
What is self-plagiarism? Why can’t I re-use my own work?
According to the American Psychological Association (2010), self-plagiarism refers to "the practice of presenting one’s own previously published work as though it were new” (pg. 170).
While it may sound oxymoronic to steal from yourself, you are committing self-plagiarism if you reuse your own work without proper citation. Refer to Dellavalle's (2009) article for more details on the topic of self-plagiarism.