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Plagiarism -- intentional or unintentional -- is academic dishonesty and is prohibited. (Please see Student Handbook's entry on Academic Honesty.) You may not represent the work of another as your own. ALL cases of plagiarism will suffer immediate consequences such as:

  • Zero credit for the assignment
  • Automatic "F" for the course
  • Academic probation
  • Suspension from university
  • Expulsion



What is Plagiarism and Why is it Important?

In college courses, we are continually engaged with other people's ideas: we read them in texts, hear them in lectures, discuss them in class, and incorporate them into our own writing. As a result, it is very important that we give credit where it is due. Plagiarism is using others' ideas and words without clearly acknowledging the source of that information.

How Can Students Avoid Plagiarism?

To avoid plagiarism, you must give credit whenever you use:

  • another person's idea, opinion, or theory;
  • any facts, statistics, graphs, drawings, etc., that are not common knowledge;
  • quotations of another person's actual spoken or written words;
  • or paraphrase of another person's spoken or written words.

Therefore to avoid plagiarism:

  • Put in quotations everything that comes directly from the text especially when taking notes.
  • Paraphrase, but be sure you are not just rearranging or replacing a few words. Instead, read over what you want to paraphrase carefully; cover up the text with your hand, or close the text so you can't see any of it (and so aren't tempted to use the text as a "guide"). Write out the idea in your own words without peeking.
  • Check your paraphrase against the original text to be sure you have not accidentally used the same phrases or words, and that the information is accurate.

How to Recognize Unacceptable and Acceptable Paraphrases

Here's the ORIGINAL text, from page 1 of Lizzie Borden: A Case Book of Family and Crime in the 1890s by Joyce G. Williams, J.E. Smithburn, and M.J. Peterson:

"The rise of industry, the growth of cities, and the expansion of the population were the three great developments of late nineteenth century American history. As new, larger, steam-powered factories became a feature of the American landscape in the East, they transformed farm hands into industrial laborers, and provided jobs for a rising tide of immigrants. With industry came urbanization the growth of large cities (like Fall River, Massachusetts, where the Bordens lived) which became the centers of production as well as of commerce and trade."

Here's an UNACCEPTABLE paraphrase that is plagiarism:

"The increase of industry, the growth of cities, and the explosion of the population were three large factors of nineteenth century America. As steam-driven companies became more visible in the eastern part of the country, they changed farm hands into factory workers and provided jobs for the large wave of immigrants. With industry came the growth of large cities like Fall River where the Bordens lived which turned into centers of commerce and trade as well as production."

What makes this passage plagiarism?

(If you do either or both of the following, you are plagiarizing.)

  • the writer has only changed a few words/phrases, or changed the order of the original's sentences.
  • the writer has failed to cite a source for any of the ideas or facts.