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Philosophy and Religious Studies

Plagiarism Slides

Ways to avoid plagiarism

Ways to Avoid Plagiarism

Types of Plagiarism

Types of Plagiarism


You've been lectured on plagiarism your entire life. You have a pretty good idea of what it is, right? But in case you're a little fuzzy, here's your 2 minute refresher.

Plagiarism is using someone else's words or ideas without giving them credit. Here's how Webster's defines the act of plagiarizing: "to steal and pass off as one's own (the ideas or words of another):use (a created production) without crediting the source: to commit literary theft:present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source". Webster's Third New International Dictionary, 1961, p.1728 

It's interesting to note that the word plagiarist (one who plagiarizes) comes from the Latin for kidnapper!

Examples of plagiarism:

  • Quoting from an article without providing an in-text citation
  • Paraphrasing information from a book chapter without providing an in-text citation
  • Re-using passages from previous papers or assignments you've written without attribution
  • Assuming specific information is general knowledge and not providing a citation

Often, plagiarism isn't intentional.  It happens because sources are cited incorrectly. 

When in doubt cite your sources!

These videos provide examples and definitions on plagiarism and may help you better understand what it is and how to avoid it.

There are some common types of plagiarism. Learning what they are is the first step towards avoiding them.

  • Copying, word for word, something from another source -- book, article, encyclopedia, the Internet -- without using quotations or citing where you found the information
  • Submitting someone else's work, in it's entirety (a paper you bought on the Internet), as your own work.
  • Cutting & pasting from one or several Internet sources (or any other source for that matter) without quoting or giving proper credit
  • Paraphrasing -- changing some of the words, but keeping the meaning -- without citing your source
  • Borrowing ideas from others without giving proper credit
  • Or  re-using papers or content from other classes

Some unintentional forms of plagiarism can happen when you forget to put the quotation marks for a direct quote around the entire quotation or if you cite sources inaccurately or incompletely.

Lastly --  Self-plagiarism: submitting your own work, in part or as a whole, for a different project then was originally intended without the permission or notification of your professors. 

Tip: It is not plagiarizing when you say something that is considered common knowledge. Common knowledge is information that is generally known and usually includes things like widely known facts and dates.For example, you wouldn't need to cite a statement like  -- Abraham Lincoln was our 16th President. This is a known historical fact that can be verified in many sources. This can be a fuzzy area so a good rule of thumb is to cite something if you aren't sure or ask your professor for guidance.

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition,MLA, 2009.

Here are some strategies that will help you to avoid plagiarizing:

  • Make sure you understand what it is and what constitutes plagiarism. Not sure? Ask your professor, a librarian, or the Writing Studio.
  • Keep detailed, specific notes when you are researching and be sure to put quotes around anything in your notes that is a direct quote. This should make it easier to remember to quote when you put the material in your paper.
  • Keep track of your sources so that you can cite them properly, but also so that you can refer back to them to see what you've used and how
  • If you're paraphrasing or getting ready to quote you can start a statement by using the name of the individual who you are quoting or paraphrasing, i.e.:  "Acccording to George R.R. Martin..."

What's the point of paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing allows you to reference someone else's work without having oodles of quotations in your paper.  It also allows you to discuss someone else's work without plagiarizing since paraphrasing allows you to give them the credit they deserve without having to quote large chunks of their work. 

If your purpose is one of the following, you may wish to paraphrase a portion of a text:

  • to make sure that you fully understand what the text says (for example, a poem or a Bible verse or a speech from a play by Shakespeare);
  • to discuss someone's argument or text directly;
  • to use as expert evidence for a point you are making in your own argumentative text;
  • to present an opposing point of view that you wish to refute.

 How to Paraphrase a Text

  • Use alternative wording to the author's throughout your paraphrase.
  • If you use the author's words to name important ideas, enclose his or her phrases in quotation marks.
  • Present the ideas of the original using your own sentence structure as well as your own word choice. Following the author's sentence structure, even if you use alternative wording, is considered plagiarizing.
  • Cite your source, even if you do not use a direct quotation from the source.
  • When including a paraphrase in your text, introduce the topic in your own words, but make it clear that you are presenting someone else's ideas with wording like "H. H. Smith argues that . . ." or "According to medical researcher Donald Smith, . . ." or "Smith also claims that . . .".

Parts Taken from Bridgewater College

The ESU Student Code of Conduct doesn't specifically use the word plagiarize but it does outline a range of things that are considered to be academic misconduct. The 5th item on that list of violations is the following: "Presenting as one's own the ideas or works of another person(s) - scholastic, literary, or artistic - in whole or in part, without customary acknowledgement of sources" -Retrieved from the East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania 2014-2016 Student Handbook, Sept. 8, 2014

Many of your professors will have a statement about plagiarism included with their course syllabi. Plagiarism can result in failing a course, academic suspension or even expulsion from the University. Your Professors take this issue seriously -- so should you!

Check out the entire student code of conduct in the Student Handbook.

Want to learn more or take a quiz to see if you really understand plagiarism?

Purdue Owl Avoiding Plagiarism (read more and try their practice exercises)

Read more on plagiarism and how to avoid it. Take some practice quizzes. These pages designed by the folks at the Online Writing Center at Purdue University may help you further: