Plagiarism is the presentation of
            another's words or ideas as your own.
                     It is a
            bad thing.
                        Don't do it.

Turning in a paper actually written by your room-mate and saying "I wrote this" would be a flagarant example of plagiarism. The same would be true if you were to buy a term paper from a "paper mill."

The lightest punishment for plagiarism of this sort would be a grade of zero for the paper. Other common punishments are failing the course or even expulsion from school. As you can see, plagiarism is a very serious offense in academia.

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Babbie 2005