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Understand Plagiarism and Practice Integrity: Home

This guide provides examples of plagiarism, and tips and resources to help students avoid plagiarism.

Plagiarism Defined

What is it?

  • It's not just taking words, it's taking ideas and using them as your own without giving credit
  • It is usually not deliberate – it is generally a result of poor note taking or lack of organization
  • If you give credit by way of a citation, then you’re usually ok.
  • If you are unsure whether to give credit or not, cite the source just to be safe

What can happen if I do plagiarize?

  • A lot will depend upon whether it's intentional or unintentional
  • You may initially receive a warning
  • You could also receive a failing mark on the paper or fail the class altogether
  • It could be reported and added to your academic file
  • In some extreme circumstances it can be grounds for expulsion

Why We Cite: Understanding Citation Styles

What's The Big Deal About Plagiarism?

Why give credit?

You need to give credit to sources for several reasons:

  • To let your readers know how your views, "agree with, disagree with, or modify the views of published experts in the field."

  • By citing your sources, you are providing your reader with additional information--such as books, articles, and websites--on the topic you are writing about.
  • "By listing the author of a quotation and providing a page number, you're telling the reader, 'If you don't believe that this person really wrote this, you can look it up for yourself.'"
  • "It's the honest thing to do."

Source: Plagiarism (Microsoft Word document) - UWGB Writing Center handout

Avoiding Plagiarism

How can anyone tell anyhow?

  • Professors can Google too...
  • Professors can usually tell when a student is writing "out of voice"
  • Incomplete or missing information on bibliographies is always a tell-tale sign
  • Professors that require students to submit via Turnitin are presented with any unusual amount of text that overlaps with a published document; however, it is up to each Professor to make the final determination. This is another reason to make sure these types of passages are contained in quotes and properly cited.

Yikes! How can I avoid it?

  • Use reputable sources and track where you are getting your information from
  • Develop your own ideas
  • Keep your research organized - use note cards
  • Email articles to yourself and keep them in a class or assignment folder
  • Create your bibliography as you go, as opposed to sorting it out after you have written your paper
  • Use the personal profile tools in EBSCO or Zotero.