It is possible to plagiarize accidentally, but that is rare. It is possible that you might make honest mistakes when you quote, paraphrase, and cite. In its statement on plagiarism, the ISU Department of English and Philosophy says that “both intentional and unintentional plagiarism constitute violations of the University's policy on Academic Honesty.”3 In most cases, however, plagiarism is a conscious act—an intentional appropriation of someone else's work without acknowledgment.
What circumstances might cause a student to commit, or be tempted to commit, plagiarism? There are three common causes: