This section of the Resource Center provides a definition of plagiarism, and a brief scenario-based tutorial that will help you begin to think about and prevent plagiarism. You'll also find here links to the official University policies on plagiarism for each campus.
Plagiarism is defined as representing the words or ideas of another as one’s own in any academic endeavor. This includes copying another student’s paper or working with another person when both submit similar papers without authorization to satisfy an individual assignment.
Direct Quotation Rules
Every direct quotation must be identified by quotation marks or by appropriate indentation and must be promptly cited. Proper citation style for many academic departments is outlined in such manuals as the APA Formatting and Style Guide.
The following is an example of an uncited direct quotation from a case in which the student in question was found guilty of plagiarism:
Original Source: To push the comparison with popular tale and popular romance a bit further, we may note that the measure of artistic triviality of works such as "Sir Degare" or even "Havelok the Dean" is their casualness, their indifference to all but the simplest elements of literary substance. The point is that high genre does not certify art and low genre does not preclude it. (From Robert M. Jordan, Chaucer and the Shape of Creation, Howard Global Campus Press, 1967, page 187.)
Student Paper: To push the comparison with popular tale and popular romance a bit further, you can note that the measure of artistic triviality in some works of Chaucer’s time period is their casualness. Their indifference to all but the simplest elements of literary substance. The point is that high genre does not certify art and low genre does not preclude it.
Prompt acknowledgment is required when material from another source is paraphrased or summarized in whole or in part. This is true even if the student’s words differ substantially from those of the source. To acknowledge a paraphrase properly, one might introduce it with a statement such as "To paraphrase Locke’s comment..." and conclude it with a citation identifying the exact reference. The concluding citation also might say, "The last paragraph (two paragraphs, etc.) paraphrases statements by..." and then give the exact reference. A citation acknowledging only a directly quoted statement does not suffice as an acknowledgment of any preceding or succeeding paraphrased material.
The following is an example of unacknowledged paraphrase that could warrant a charge of plagiarism.
Original Source: The era in question included three formally declared wars. The decision to enter the War of 1812 was made by Congress after extended debate. Madison made no recommendation in favor of hostilities, though he did marshal a "telling case against England" in his message to Congress of June 1, 1812. The primary impetus to battle, however, seems to have come from a group of "War Hawks" in the legislature. (From W. Taylor Reveley III, "Presidential War-Making: Constitutional Prerogative or Usurpation?" Global Campus of Virginia Law Review, November 1969, footnotes omitted.)
Student Paper: During this period three wars were actually declared by Congress. For instance, in 1812 a vehemently pro-war group of legislators persuaded Congress, after much discussion, to make such a declaration, despite the fact that Madison had not asked for it, though, to be sure, he had openly condemned England in his message to Congress of June 1, 1812.
Borrowed Facts or Information
Information obtained in one's reading or research that is not common knowledge should be acknowledged. Examples of common knowledge might include the names of leaders of prominent nations, basic scientific laws, etc. Materials that contribute only to one's general understanding of the subject may be acknowledged in the bibliography and need not be immediately cited. One citation is usually sufficient to acknowledge indebtedness when a number of connected sentences in the paper draw their special information from one source.
Consult the Student Rights and Responsibilities section of the campus Student Code.