Taking credit for language or ideas not your own is plagiarism. It is a form of theft, an academic crime. You may receive an F in your course and be expelled from the University if you plagiarize. See the HSU Academic Honesty Policy for more information.
Research and scholarship often build on or refer to the work of others. It is not wrong to use others' ideas, or even their words. It is wrong to present them as your own.
Besides avoiding plagiarism, scholars and other researchers document their findings with footnotes and bibliographies to
- Establish the accuracy, authority, and reliability of the information presented.
- Direct other researchers to sources of additional or more complete information.
Published research is a kind of conversation among researchers or scholars, and documentation—providing citations to the source of your information—is an important part of the exchange. You can benefit from this by consulting the sources that have been cited in resources you use for your research. You'll be getting recommendations from experts.