know that plagiarism is wrong. But perhaps at some point it becomes a
temptation to knowingly
commit plagiarism. Or perhaps you know that it is wrong, but you do not
fully understand plagiarism and
all of the forms that it can take. Whether you are in danger of
intentionally or accidentally committing plagiarism, these pages can
help you avoid doing so.
to avoid the temptation to plagiarize:
Plagiarism by students seems to
result primarily from stress, though of course some students plagiarize
to avoid work or out of a simple desire to cheat. The key to avoiding
the temptation to plagiarize, whatever the motive, is understanding the
risks you take if you plagiarize. See
Penalties For Plagiarism
and Plagiarism Policies if you would like to know more about the
consequences of plagiarism.
who commits egregious plagiarism (such as downloading a paper from the
Internet and turning it in for a grade) takes great risk:
The student risks receiving a lower
grade on the paper.
The student risks receiving a
failing grade on the paper.
The student risks receiving a lower
grade in the course.
The student risks failing the
The student risks being placed on
probation for academic dishonesty.
The student risks being suspended
from the College for academic dishonesty.
The student risks being permanently
dismissed from the College for academic dishonesty.
The student risks placing a black mark on his
or her permanent transcript, which will be noted by colleges,
universities, and employers who view the transcript.
risks alone should be reason enough to resist the temptation to
plagiarize. Stress plays a role in the temptation to
plagiarize, though. When you have a deadline looming and/or you feel
that you do not have the skills to complete an assignment, remember
Plagiarism has dire consequences.
Most instructors allow students to
turn in assignments late. It is better to turn in your own work and
accept a late penalty than it is to submit a plagiarized paper on
If a paper is due close to the end of
a semester and you feel that you cannot complete it in time, your
instructor may be able to give you an incomplete, which would give
you additional time to complete the assignment.
Doing the best that you can, even if your best
is not as good as you would like it to be, is much better than
to avoid accidental plagiarism:
Some lesser forms of plagiarism
can occur accidentally. It is important to remember that the
penalties for plagiarism do not change if the plagiarism is accidental
and that egregious plagiarism is never accidental. How can a
student "accidentally" turn in a paper written by someone else?
That being said, students
sometimes forget or neglect to properly document and punctuate
material from outside sources. Another word of caution, though:
ignorance of the rules regarding
documentation of sources does not excuse plagiarism.
Some things to keep in mind if
you want to avoid accidentally committing some lesser forms of
You must put quotation marks at both
ends of anything taken word-for-word from an outside source
You must document any source from
which you draw specifics, even if you do not quote from the source
word-for-word. In other words, if you paraphrase or summarize
specific ideas, opinions, information from an article, book, web
site (etc.), you must document the source.
In most documentation styles,
including APA and MLA, any source from which you draw specifics must
be documented twice--once in a parenthetical citation and
once on a references page.
Whenever you paraphrase or summarize
a passage from an outside source, you must make sure that the
wording of your paraphrase or summary is distinctly different
from the wording of the original. You should not "paraphrase" by
writing almost the same sentence or "summarize" by lifting sentences
from various places in the passage.
To avoid plagiarizing, you must keep
track of the sources that you use in writing a paper. Make sure that
you have all of the information necessary to document a source
before you discard it. For example, if you use a magazine article,
you must have the author's name, the article title, the title of the
magazine, the exact publication date, the volume number, and the
Before you let someone read your
paper and give you feedback (whether that person is a friend, family
member, classmate, or tutor), make sure he or she understands that
offering advice and pointing out mistakes is okay, but making
changes or corrections for you is a form of plagiarism.
Plagiarism Policies I
Avoiding Plagiarism I
Penalties for Plagiarism