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Citation: Plagiarism

  What is Plagiarism?

Pirate was a Picturesque Fellow by Howard Pyle (from ARTstor)


Pirate was a Picturesque Fellow by Howard Pyle (from ARTstor)

Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s words or ideas as your own. If you don’t credit the author, you are committing a type of theft called plagiarism.

When you do research you incorporate outside sources – other people’s words and ideas – into your paper. It is important to cite these sources, whether you quote, paraphrase, or summarize their ideas. 

It is plagiarism if you:

  1. buy or use a term paper written by someone else.
  2. cut and paste passages from the Web, a book, or an article and insert them into your paper without citing them. 
  3. use the words or ideas of another person without citing them.
  4. paraphrase someone’s words without citing them.

Most colleges have an Academic Integrity Policy.  Consequences for plagiarism can range from failing the paper or the class to suspension from the school.

To avoiding plagiarising:  

  1. Use your own ideas. Your paper and your ideas that should be the focus.
  2. Use the ideas of others to support or reinforce your own argument.
  3. When taking notes, include complete citation information for each item you use.
  4. Use quotation marks when directly stating another person's words.

Adapted from Western Michigan University Library's Citing Sources module. 

From Ward Off Plagiarism: How to Paraphrase Writing

Paraphrase vs Plagiarism

Almost plagiarism and more common: "Patchwriting"

More common than outright plagiarism, students "patch together" thoughts in a recognizable form of writing known as "patchwriting." Instead of synthesizing one's own thoughts and writing original sentences, pieces and phrases of others' work are pieced together. Read more in this Poynter Institute article, "'Patchwriting' is more common than plagiarism, just as dishonest."

Whether students mean to plagiarize or not, the consequences of an author's words or phrasing appearing in your work can mean a failing grade on your paper, a failing grade in a class or expulsion from college.

To avoid any of these, keep careful track of where you find your sources and quotes. Use index cards or a Google doc. It doesn't matter how you keep words and ideas next to the author's name, the title of the work and page numbers.