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:
Often, plagiarism isn't intentional. It happens because sources are cited incorrectly.
When in doubt cite your sources!
There are some common types of plagiarism. Learning what they are is the first step towards avoiding them.
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:
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:
How to Paraphrase a Text
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?