This study explores students' understanding of plagiarism and their information use practices. Based on earlier findings regarding students' orientation toward processes and the degree of plagiarism exhibited, it analyses four cases in a new Australian study of Year 11 students. The two students who plagiarized least are compared with the two who plagiarized most in an ancient history assignment. Those who plagiarized most were less engaged with their topics; remembered less about them a month later; demonstrated less interest in processes such as learning, seeking meaning, or understanding; and were less able to recognize plagiarism than did those who plagiarized least. Those who plagiarized least incorporated direct quotations more effectively, used fewer quotations, and synthesized information and ideas better than did the others. Learning experiences that emphasize student engagement and construction of knowledge through appropriate and effective information use should take precedence over attempts to detect plagiarism without providing alternatives.