What is plagiarism?

Definition

The definition of plagiarism is to use another person’s work (words or ideas) without giving clear credit to the source of that information. Plagiarism can be either intentional or unintentional. Intentional plagiarism is cheating. This is when you copy the work of another and call it your own. This includes copying from a book, journal, web page, another term paper, or any other source. Things such as art, graphics, poetry, data, text, computer programs and code, web sites, music and other creative expressions are included as things that cannot be copied without proper citing or permission.

Plagiarism is stealing the work of another to present as one's own.

Unintentional plagiarism is also cheating.  This happens when a writer does not intend to plagiarize but fails to cite the sources of the information that they use correctly. Even unintentional plagiarism is a violation.

What are some examples of plagiarism?

    • Paraphrasing, or restating another writer's ideas in your own words, without documentation.
    • Copying or paraphrasing ideas from literary criticism or the commentary in study aids (such as Cliff's Notes) without acknowledgement.
    • Including facts, figures, graphs, charts, or other information (that are not considered common knowledge) without giving proper credit to the source of the information.
    • Using another person's work or ideas as your own in the creative or practical arts in pieces such as essays, short stories, poems, musical compositions, art work, projects, or computer software.
    • Failing to give a bibliography or references cited for a project that requires research.
    • Directly quoting from a work without quotation marks or documentation. 

How do you cite sources?

Your instructor will let you know which style or format to use for the course project you are working on.  Examples of the many different formats that you may be asked to use include MLA, APA, CBE, and Chicago Manual.  If you are unsure of what format to use, ask your instructor. Documentation consists of two parts: within the text and at the end of your paper. In your text, use parentheses to show your reader where you have used each piece of information from your sources.

There are a number of very good web pages that give examples of how and when to cite sources.

How can you avoid plagiarism?

    • Know what plagiarism is
    • Don't procrastinate. Begin your work early.
    • Cite everything that is not your work
    • Use your own words and ideas
    • When in doubt, cite the source
    • Use good judgment with “common knowledge”
    • Avoid using others’ work with only minor or cosmetic changes 

What are the consequences of plagiarism?

Any or all of the below may be consequences if plagiarism is detected.

    • Receive an F on the assignment
    • Receive an F for the course
    • Loss of athletic or other privileges
    • Expelled from school